Amnesty International has several concerns in Niger. More than 230 soldiers, arrested following a failed mutiny in 2002, and remained in detention without trial. Journalists continued to be targeted in an attempt to restrict freedom of expression. Hundreds of thousands of people reportedly remained in conditions of slavery despite the adoption of a new Penal Code in 2003 making slavery a punishable crime.
Niger was ranked at the bottom of UN’s 2005 Human Development Report. Last year, Niger drew some international attention when it suffered a significant famine stemming from years of drought. Niger is a participant in the United States’ War on Terror operations in the Sahara-Sahel Region, including the $500 million Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) that aims to make the region more secure. Critics charge that the TSCTI will do more harm than good.