News Politics

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs writes to ECOWAS

United Nations Nations Unies
H E A D Q U A RT E R S • S I E G E N E W Y O R K , N Y 1 0 0 1 7
T E L . : 1 ( 2 1 2 ) 9 6 3 . 1 2 3 4 • FA X : 1 ( 2 1 2 ) 9 6 3 . 4 8 7 9

17 August 2023
With reference to your letter to the Secretary-General dated 31 July, transmitting the
decision of the Authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) taken
at the 51st Extraordinary Summit of the Mediation and Security Council at the Heads of State level
on Niger, I would like to bring to your attention the unintended adverse impact of some of
ECOWAS’s sanctions on the humanitarian operations conducted by UN Agencies and non-
governmental organizations participating in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plans,
Refugee Response Plans, other United Nations humanitarian appeals, or OCHA-coordinated
humanitarian “clusters”.

Several have reached out to me sharing accounts of major logistical impediments and
warning about foreseeable additional obstacles related to some of the measures adopted by
ECOWAS – including in terms of procurement, transportation, and banking services.
I therefore appeal to ECOWAS and its member States to ensure that the sanction measures
integrate the necessary standing exemptions for the humanitarian operations of these various actors
in Niger. In particular, the exemptions would need to:
i. ensure that the safe, timely and unimpeded movement of humanitarian cargo and
personnel into and out of Niger, by air and by land, will not be impacted by the
ii. guarantee the safety of humanitarian flights.
iii. clarify that all commercial and financial transactions necessary to support the
continuation of humanitarian operations in Niger remain permitted and proactively
communicate this decision to financial institutions, relevant authorities and entities in
the private sector.
iv. maintain the provision of utility services as necessary to support humanitarian
v. exclude from asset freezes all transactions needed to support the delivery of
humanitarian assistance and activities necessary to address basic human needs of the
population, including the processing or payment of funds, other financial assets, or
economic resources, or the provision of goods and services to targeted actors or
institutions under their control as part of legitimate humanitarian activities.
His Excellency
Mr. Omar Alieu Touray
President of the Economic Community of West African States Commission

vi. ensure that humanitarian organizations and their personnel involved in such
transactions do not incur any legal risk for their activities strictly related to the
provision of humanitarian assistance to the population of Niger.
I look forward to working with you to ensure that the population of Niger who has been
directly affected by the crisis can receive the necessary humanitarian assistance.
Yours sincerely,
Martin Griffiths
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Comments are closed.