7.COM 11.24

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Niger has nominated practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Joking relationships characterize the day-to-day interactions between ethno-linguistic groups or communities in Niger. They take the form of a playful taunting between two people from two communities that represent symbolically the husband and wife cross-cousin branches of the same family. The relationship is characterized by jokes and other provocations according to caricatured or stereotypical clichés that are devised and known in advance. These stereotypes are used by the ‘cousins’ to reciprocally greet and playfully insult one another. The joking relationship is a real instrument for regulating social tensions, based on the virtues of tolerance, solidarity, brotherhood, freedom and non-violence. Its primary function is to teach practitioners to fight against social discrimination and to defuse possible misunderstandings through ritualized humour. The skills related to the joking relationship are displayed at family meetings such as weddings, baptisms, ceremonies and funerals, commercial transactions, and cultural and entertainment events. The State has also instituted a national celebration of the joking relationships held annually in the twelfth lunar month, including large-scale festivities, conferences, panel discussions and cultural activities such as contests, skits and songs.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00738, the nomination satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.4:   The nomination has been submitted with the participation of individuals, communities, cultural associations and local authorities who provided their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   The practices and expressions of joking relationships figured into a general inventory of cultural heritage elaborated in 1989-1990 with the participation of communities, and are registered since 2011 in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, maintained by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture;

  1. Further decides that the information provided in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied, as follows:

R.1:   Further information on the element is needed including a clearer identification of the communities of practitioners and bearers, the forms in which joking relationships are expressed and their relations to other cultural expressions, and transmission of joking relationships and their practices to younger generations;

R.2:   Further information is requested to explain how its inscription would enhance the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in general and awareness of its significance as well as how it would encourage dialogue among communities, groups and individuals and promote human creativity;

R.3:   Further information is needed to explain the safeguarding measures in more concrete terms and to demonstrate how the communities of practitioners have participated in the elaboration of these measures and will be involved in their implementation;

  1. Decides to refer the nomination practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.

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