The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.


Nigerien Law 2015-36: How a New Narrative in the Fight Against Smugglers Affects the Right to Leave a Country

Sarah Isabel Pfeiffer



In 2015, the Republic of the Niger adopted an anti-migrant smuggling law (Law 2015-36) with direct involvement of the European Union (EU). Since then, concerns have been raised that this law constitutes a de facto travel ban for anyone moving northwards from Niger. Rather than addressing the involvement of the EU, this article will focus on the direct obligations of Niger, including those set by regional human rights agreements, as the country where the so-called cooperative migration control takes place. People on the move towards Libya will be a special focus as the most affected by the Nigerien law. First, the Nigerien law and its provisions will be described, in order to then assess whether the law and its application infringe the human right to leave any country including one’s own. Drawing from the findings of non-governmental organizations and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, this article argues that Law 2015- 36 renders it impossible for non-Nigerien nationals to leave the country without risking their life and safety. Thus, Law 2015-36 infringes the right to leave. The third part explores possible justifications for the law with a focus on the interests of people on the move, the interests of bordering States, and national interests. It finds that Law 2015-36 is disproportionate and, in fact, impairs the essence of the right to leave, resulting in an unjustified interference. The concluding fourth part contains recommendations for possible amendments to the law.



Download the full text as a PDF