Indigenous peoples in Niger
Niger’s indigenous populations are the Peul, Tuareg and Toubou. These peoples are all transhumant pastoralists. Niger’s total 2009 population was estimated at 14,693,110.
8.5% of the population are Peul, i.e. 1,248,914 individuals. They are mostly cattle and sheep herders but some of them have converted to agriculture because they lost their livestock during the droughts. They live in all regions of the country. The Peul can be further sub-divided into a number of groups, namely the Tolèbé, Gorgabé, Djelgobé and Bororo.
8.3% of the population are Tuareg, i.e. 1,219,528 individuals. They are camel and goat herders. They live in the north (Agadez and Tahoua) and west (Tillabery) of the country.
1.5% of the population are Toubou, i.e. 220,397 individuals. They are camel herders and live in the east of the country: Tesker (Zinder), N’guigmi (Diffa) and along the border with Libya (Bilma).
Legislation concerning indigenous peoples
The Constitution of June 2010 does not explicitly mention the existence of indigenous peoples in Niger.
The rights of pastoralists are set out in the Pastoral Code, adopted in 2010. The most important rights in the code include an explicit recognition of mobility as a fundamental right of pastoralists and a ban on the privatisation of pastoral spaces, which poses a threat to pastoral mobility. An additional important element in the Pastoral Code is the recognition of priority use rights in pastoral homelands (terroirs d’attache).
Niger has not signed ILO Convention 169 but did vote in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.