The majority of these suspects had been held in pre-trial detention since 2015, when the terrorist attacks committed by Boko Haram ravaged the Diffa region, in the east of the country, by the border with Nigeria "I have seen how the work of a volunteer brings a glimmer of hope in the eyes of prisoners," says Ali*, UN Volunteer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Niger.
My name is Adil Abdallah, I’m from Darfur. I have been serving, since November 2014, as a national UN Volunteer Human Rights Officer with the Human Rights Section of the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). My responsibilities include collecting information on human rights violations and abuses in Darfur. I report on serious human rights violations, including rape, abductions, arbitrary arrests and killing.
I am based in Dakar and part of a dedicated team of five people working towards the promotion and protection of human rights across the 14 West African States. A challenging and fascinating mission in a few words is but a gross understatement.
My area of responsibility includes economic, social and cultural rights of the local people, the rights of people on the move, especially asylum seekers, as well the human rights situation in Niger. This is especially where I saw my mission bringing the United Nations closer to the people we serve.
As a UN Volunteer Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), I am engaged in monitoring, investigating and reporting human rights violations and abuses, as well as building capacity of civil society partners and state authorities.
Aside from monitoring detention centres, prisons and police cells, I am engaged in the creation of local human rights networks, and I help them develop their capacity in monitoring and advocacy to build a society that respects human rights with dignity, mutual understanding and peaceful dialogue.
Bor, South Sudan: Mary works for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and she does an important job – she makes sure that our office is neat and clean, allowing us to carry on with our duties in a healthy environment. Mary is a widow who lives at the Protection of Civilians site (PoC) adjacent to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Bor, Jonglei State, together with her five children, in precarious conditions and unable to leave the camp for fear of her life. We became friends and we started a language exchange.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: After working for the Spanish government, several media outlets, EU institutions and NGO networks, I decided my future was working for the United Nations. The UN represents all the values I believe in and could specifically focus on human rights and migration issues.
Kankan, Upper Guinea; Guinea-Conakry: When I took up the role of the UN Youth Volunteer for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, I was not quite sure what to expect.
"From the university benches, past lectures and books to the real-life practice of human rights on the field." These words are what come to mind when I try to summarise those three weeks on mission to monitor human rights in Guinea.
Bangui, Central African Republic: I am Italian and define myself as a soul traveller. Prior to moving to the Central African Republic (CAR), I have been working, living and studying overseas for the last 10 years. Over the time, I developed expertise in the areas of capacity building, migration, and human trafficking across different countries mainly from South/Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Banjul, The Gambia: "Since you came, life in this village has changed."