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Category Archives: Human Rights Watch

Social Justice and Human Rights

By Kyenpya Katkuk Esq

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Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, social rights and opportunities.

It may be broadly understood as fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.

Social justice refers to:
1. Equal rights
2. Equal opportunities
3. Equal treatment.

Bearing in mind the theme of this year’s Social Justice Day ” Closing the Inequalities Gap ” I would be sharing some interesting facts that would be gender specific to women and how to close the inequality gap.

Gender inequality in Nigeria is influenced by different cultures and beliefs. In some parts of Nigeria women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not just a basic human right but it is crucial for a sustainable future.

Poor countries have a monopoly on gender inequality. There are significant disparities in health, education and bargaining powers within marriage in countries with low GDP per capita.

According to the World Economic Forum here are some interesting facts :

1. Women are 47% more likely to suffer car crashes in a car because car safety features are designed for men.

2. 33,000 girls become child brides everyday.
This vary between communities because girls are not valued as highly as boys and marrying them at a young age transfers the economic burden to another family.

3. Women in rural parts of Africa  spend more time collecting water to help their household. Due to the lack of infrastructure, combined with the expectations that women should meet up to their household duties and limited employment opportunities for women means that they shoulder unequal burden of gathering firewood and water for their families.

4. Only 6 countries give women equal legal working rights as men.

Belgium, Denmark, France,Luxembourg and Sweden.
A typical economy gives women three quater of the rights of men in measured areas.

5. 22% of all Professionals are women compared with 78% who are male. This accounts for the gender gap that reflects in the STEM skills gap.
Researchers say that “Women usually avoid scientific pursuits because of their self views”.

Inequality remains one of the biggest obstacles to shared prosperity. No country, no economy, no company, or community can meet today’s  challenges or achieve its potential until it’s people can achieve theirs.

According to the World Economic Forum, it would take about 108 years to close the gender gap. The biggest gaps to close are in the economic and political empowerment dimensions which would take 202 and 107 years to close.

Conclusively, when women and girls are valued as much as boys and men, when countries invest in their health, education and skills training, when they give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy, manage incomes, own and run businesses, give access to land and loan facilities. The benefits would cause a ripple effect to their children, families, communities and to the economy and thus the, issues of social justice such as equal rights, equal opportunities and equal treatment would would aid in closing the gap.

Recommendations:

1. More women should be empowered and have access to infrastructures like health and education.
2. More girls should be enrolled in schools to hinder child marriage.

3. More girls should be encouraged to take STEM related courses.

4. There should be an increase in women’s political participation.

5. Organizations and businesses should employ more women compared to men to close the gender gap.

6. Women should support other women.

7.  Family friendly policies should be put in place in organizations and businesses to optimize women’s productivity in the workplace.

8. Challenge stereotypes and gender norms.

Kyenpya Katkuk is the Executive Director of Girl to Woman Development Initiative.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

 

 

 

 

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CONSTANCE NKWOCHA & 15 ORS V. THE FCT MINISTER & 5 ORS: JUDGEMENT IMPLICATIONS AND WAY FORWARD

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IMPLICATIONS

Following the recent judgement from the afore-stated case, it is without ambiguity or misunderstanding inconsistent with any law in Nigeria misinterpreting the criminality or otherwise of sex work in Nigeria.

Before judgement was given in the instant case, sex work was dragged by agencies of the Nigerian government as constituting an offence without any substantial legal backing.

Judgement from this case would do the following:

  1. Hopefully guide Nigerian government agencies in their operations against women whom they perceive as being sex workers
  2. Guide other Nigerian courts in delivering judgements in cases of similar nature
  3. Go a long way in assisting human rights defenders in taking up cases of similar nature, in Nigeria

WAY FORWARD

While Lawyers Alert is exploring the possibilities of going on appeal, it has met with Heartland Alliance International on the possible way forward for the above stated judgement and how best to execute possible plans. However, for enormous success to emerge from this development, all hands must be on deck. Stakeholders working on issues of this nature are encouraged to be part of this process.

Consequently, there is need for other International Development Actors to encourage the process by joining Lawyers Alert and Heartland Alliance International to maximize this rare opportunity in eradicating all forms of discrimination against sex workers, as well as prevent subsequent and foreseen mayhem which may arise.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that all articles on this page are of the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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Choosing the Right Approach for Promoting Human Rights in Nigeria.

By Leslie Whyte, ICT / Media Officer

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Documenting human rights abuses is the heart of human rights work. The effectiveness of human rights documentation tool depends on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the evidence gathered. It can contribute to educating and organizing as well as advocating at a political or legislative level. Government leaders have been enlightened through documentation of human rights violations. The importance of human rights violation documentation for both for victim and the perpetrator, cannot be underestimated.

Documentation is about collecting stories, establishing truths and “sounding alarms.” Success can depend on one’s ability to access those stories and give meaning to them, for example, through showing patterns of abuse. Since human rights violations are often replete traumatic experiences and often happen to people who are severely marginalized and oppressed. A significant degree of empathy and understanding of the circumstances surrounding the incident is required as much as understanding the incident itself. Documentation requires serious thought and preparation, and a methodology that respects the dignity of the individual whose rights have been violated. Leadership by or involvement of those directly experiencing the abuse is an important principle in designing and implementing documentation projects.

Documentation can also be used as a capacity-building exercise, and the process is as useful and important as its outcome. NGO allies, lawyers, community members, and others can and should be encouraged to participate capacity building on documentation. While documentation can be used as an educational and organizing tool, advocacy helps in promoting documentation and brings change.

For about four years now, Lawyers Alert have been monitoring and documenting reported violations. Lawyers Alert have also developed a web-based tool where such reports are duly documented. This tool has the advantage of not only capturing the violations but also analyzing same according to location, age, type of violations, sex, etc. The analysis of these violations provides a scientific and accurate picture of the SRHR and Petty Offences situations in Nigeria. These violations reports are being shared with organizations working on SRHR in Nigeria, both local and international, including state actors like the National Human Rights Commission and the National Parliament. Reports of interventions are being put together to get state actors to operate based on the submitted data captured.

Documentation is a process of strategic and systematic gathering of quantitative and qualitative data. This process consists of several activities, namely:

  1. determining what information is needed and establishing means for acquiring it;
  2. Recording the discovered information and storing such in appropriate containers (called documents) or collecting already-existing documents containing the needed information;
  3. Organizing and analyzing documents to make them more accessible; and
  4. Actually providing the reports to users who need the information for advocacy.

 

In conclusion, documentation builds a strong platform for advocacy for it provides evidence that can contradict what governments or newspapers are reporting.

An important lesson learned is to review the impact of the documents on particular human rights efforts and store data safely.

 

References:

www.lawyersaletng.org

www.newtactics.org

www.opensocietyfoundations.org

 

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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LAWYERS ALERT’S WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2019 CELEBRATION

By Ozobulu S. Precious Esq

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The UN World Human Rights Day is celebrated on the 10th of December annually. This day was set aside by the United Nations in commemoration of the launch of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and to also use the occasion to create awareness on issues surrounding Human Rights across the world. It targets to hold governments to enhance the protection and defense of Rights and to also hold governments around the world to account for violations of Rights. Being a Rights based Civil Society Organization, Lawyers Alert joined the rest of the World to commemorate the date by putting up a panel discussion with key stakeholders to analyze the Human Rights situation in Nigeria against the backdrop of the theme for the year which was “Youths Stand Up for Human Rights”

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Goal of the project:

To commemorate the World Human Rights day 2019 with a view towards increasing the protection and defense of Human Rights in Benue State and Nigeria

Objective of the Project:

  • To bring together 30 Human Rights activists to discuss and analyze issues around Human Rights in Nigeria with a view towards putting up effective recommendations to the identified issues
  • To increase the awareness and sensitization on human Rights issues through the publication of the proceedings in at least 2 Major tabloids.

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Proceedings:

The project started with the identification and mobilization of 30 participants cutting across different groups including Youth groups, Media, Faith based Groups, Student Union, Professional bodies, Public Institutions etc. The event proper took place on the 10th of December, 2019 at Makurdi Luxury Suite, Judges Quarters. A total of 31 participants were in attendance cutting across the aforementioned groups. The meeting commenced with a word of prayer after the arrivals and registration, the participants introduced themselves afterwards. An welcome address was given by the Programs Director of the Head office who stood in for the President of Lawyers Alert. Shortly afterwards, the facilitator of the panel discussion was called upon to kick start the event. Five (5) panelists were invited to partake in the discussion. The invited panelists included the State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Makurdi Field Office, The State Chairperson of FIDA, The Program Officer of Pro Bono Lawyers, a legal Officer from Lawyers Alert. Two of the panelists did not turn up including The National Human Rights Commission and FIDA. FIDA however came in late while National Human Rights Commission called and tendered their apologies. To make up for the absenting members, Maria Okorie, The Executive Director Global Women Health Rights and Empowerment Initiative (G-WHREI) was conscripted into the panel discussions.

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The Panel discussions commenced with the Moderator Solumtochukwu Ozobulu Esq giving a broad overview of the discussion. She introduced the panelists and led in the definition of Human Rights.  The discussion was then steered towards identifying what human rights were and how they affect the youth. Since the theme of the day was focused on youths standing up for rights, the panelists explored the laws explored the laws surrounding Human Rights as they affect the youth, the reason the UN chose the  theme for the year, how youths can stand up for Human Rights, why youths should stand up for Human Rights and the consequences for not standing up for Human Rights. There was a comments, question and answer sessions where participants made comments, asked questions and contributions to the conversation. There were recommendations made at the meeting which include the following

  • Youths should develop a strong interest in Human Rights issues
  • Youths should develop their capacity on Human Rights Issues
  • Youths embark on constructive advocacy as champions
  • Youths should also be involved in governance issues like budgeting, access to social services, etc

In another development, Lawyers seized the opportunity to introduce our petty offenses project with focus on LACDOCK T, a web based tool for monitoring and documenting petty offenses in Nigeria.

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Conclusion:

The meeting came to an end at about 12:30 pm with a vote of thanks from Jerome Uneje, the Momitoring and Evaluation Officer. She thanked the participants for coming and urged them to always honour LA’ invitations.

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that all articles on this page are of the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated

 

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A CHILD AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ANY SOCIETY

By Chigoziem Ellen Onugha

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Tracing from the biblical assertion;

“Children are the heritage of the Lord.

Children are rewards from the Lord.

Children are like young man’s arrow.

Children are the source of joy and happiness.

They are rewards from God on high.

Young they may be now, but great tomorrow.

The Lord Himself has placed them high, above all gods and mighty men.

So, why not come and join the blessed to make friends with God’s heritage.”

 

This piece is so notable that it was translated into a song. Something interesting that every child could relate to. For me, this is the most popular children’s Christian song, and a large amount of us sang this song while growing up, at bible study classes.

Nelson Mandela in one of his speeches said, and I quote;

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International once said, and I quote;

“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.”

 

No matter how one looks at it, the importance of a child is never in question. It is unfortunate that children are not treated same way they are sent. One important thing people have refused to learn is the fact that every man was once a child, and whichever way a society turns out, is dependent on how that child who would someday become a man is treated.

Putting it in our traditional setting, there is an Igbo adage that goes;

“O bughi otu onye na-azu nwa”.

The above adage simply means that a child is not raised by one person. Grooming and care for children is far beyond what the parents of any child can offer. It is the duty of a society to care for and raise every child found in it.

Sometime ago, I was having a discussion with a friend. The discussion was centered on the depth of insecurity and bad leadership in our society, and a further discussion on the foundation of corruption which translates into bad leadership ensued. We discussed so much that we traced the foundation of bad leadership to how each family and the society cares for and raises every child.

Children are like a foundation. Except it is strongly built, whatever that is built on it cannot stand. Consequences for negligence on children is eternal, because it translates into what they society is.

CHILD RIGHTS V HUMAN RIGHTS

Children constitute the most vulnerable section of every society, and when we talk about rights, we oftentimes forget about child rights which is critical and an essential part of human rights.

In my own definition of child rights, I would say; Child rights are those rights that need you and I who are adults and above all members of the society, to be protected, to be respected and to be observed.

Unlike we who are grown and can enforce our rights suo moto, a child needs you for his rights to be enforced. These rights are special. We must respect that.

CONCLUSION

We should learn to give more attention to those things that can not survive except we make them survive.

“Every child is an example of the future, and every future is an example of a society”.

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN FIGHTING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE

By Ifeyinwa Onochie

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In recent time, social media has become an important part of our daily lives from shopping to connecting with friends, information and education etc. Social media plays a vital role in transforming the way we behave today. Let me start with a definition; Social media are computer tools that allow people to share information, discuss opinions, ideas, as well as share images and videos online.

Since the emergence of social media networking sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, these networks have become a day to day routine for most people. The ability to share photos, events and opinions as they happen in real-time has changed the way we live and do business.

Research has shown that in 2017, users spent more than 2 hours on average per day on social networks and messaging services, which amounted to about one third of their entire daily computer time (Mander, 2017). In addition, it is statistically estimated that more people spend time on the internet and on social media than time spent on TV or newspapers.

Consequently, for organisations, this means social media would improve customer service, marketing, public relations and other business activities that rely on quick and efficient information exchanges. However, the addictive part of the social media is bad and can disturb personal lives. Teenagers are mostly affected by addiction to social media. They get involved extensively and may eventually cut off from the society. Similarly, social media can waste individual time that could have been used for productive activities.

In relation to this, human rights abuses around the globe have drawn global criticism and attracted the attention of international communities such UN, African Union, and other international organisations (Kaluge, 2013). However, despite efforts by these organisations, Nigeria still faces human rights abuses. This could be because violations are usually not reported.

Hence, linking social media to human rights violations in Nigeria, the rate at which citizens’ rights are violated is alarming. Almost on a daily basis, Lawyers Alert receives reports of violations. In the same vein, violations are reported in the newspapers and online. To prevent violations of human rights, human rights organisations should encourage people to ask questions and demand reparation when abused.

Furthermore, there is every need to protect and defend citizens’ rights. In view of this, social media is an effective tool that can be deployed to protect the rights of citizens as well as help to fight human rights violations. One way to do this is by putting up information online on the need to end human rights violation and urge persons to report violations.

Lawyers Alert has a Facebook, twitter Instagram, blog and website where it reaches out to people, monitor and document violations. In addition, Lawyers Alert has a web based tool called LADOCKT which it developed. LADOCKT is used to capture, monitor, document and analyse human rights violations in trends, demographics, age and gender.

After analysing the violations, the report is shared with partners and the general public. It is essential to note that the reason human rights violations continue unabated is because people do not usually report. And because violations are not reported, perpetrators continue to violate citizens’ rights with impunity. There is need to encourage citizens to report violations, and one effective way to do this is to reach out to people through the social media.

After encouraging people to report violations the next step to take as a human rights organisation is to put your contacts address on Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc. Lawyers Alert has its contacts on all social media platforms where citizens report violations.

Conclusively, as a human rights organisation, Lawyers Alert will keep protecting and defending citizens’ rights and with the support of citizens, we are ready to take up issues of human rights violation and pursue them to logical conclusions.

 

Below are our contacts for purpose of reporting violation from all and sundry

 

Telephone Numbers: +234  92202090, Toll-Free Line:080 99937318
Email:
info@lawyersalertng.org (OR) lawyersalert@lawyersalertng.org

 

Facebook: Lawyers Alert Nigeria

 

Twitter: @lawyeralertNG

 

Instagram : @lawyersalertnigeria

Reference

Mander, J. (2017). Daily time spent on social networks rises to over 2 hours. Retrievedfrom https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-day/daily-time-spent-on-social-networks Accessed 10 June 2018

Kaluge, D.(2013). Human right abuse. Available from http://davidkaluge.hubpages.com/hub/human-right-abuse

CAVEAT

Lawyers Alert hereby puts our readers on notice that this article is based on the writers opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization except otherwise stated.

 

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