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Tag Archives: Human Rights Commission

THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

BY: D.U INNOCENT ESQ.

Human-rights

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

There has been an outcry, on the gross violation of human rights that has ravaged Nigeria in recent times. These violations have led to massive loss of lives, properties and the displacement of families and communities. These violations have also led to the rise in the insecurity and the volatile nature of our society presently. It is important to note that victims of these violations are innocent civilians whose lives are being disrupted and even destroyed. Who should we hold responsible?

The European Union reported at the end of 2018, that 7.1 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 850,000 people in Borno are estimated to be in areas that are inaccessible to humanitarian organizations. The conflicts between farmer communities and herdsmen escalated markedly in 2018, becoming the deadliest crisis in Nigeria with thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands internally displaced. While the root causes are fundamentally economic and lack of governance, the violence increasingly takes on a worrying ethno-religious dimension.
Federal and State governments are being criticized for the failure to ensure security, rule of law and for not addressing the widespread impunity. [1] The brutal violation of Human Rights in Benue, Nigeria which occurred in January 2018 caused by decades of old communal conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt further exacerbated the security situation in the country. As at least 1,600 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced as a result of the violence.

In June 2018, at least 84 people were killed in double suicide bomb attacks attributed to Boko Haram at a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State. The heightened political tensions ahead of the 2019 elections led to the violations of human rights of Nigerians through Abductions, suicide bombings, and attacks on civilian targets by Boko Haram. At least 1,200 people died and nearly 200,000 were displaced in the northeast in 2018.[2]

As of 2019, 1.8 million Nigerians have fled from their homes and are internally displaced, the majority in Borno State – the epicentre of the crisis. 80 per cent of internally displaced people are women and children, and one in four are under the age of five.   [3]                                                                                                              Civil societies have led campaigns against arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture exposed human rights abuses by security agencies, including by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).[4]

On the 11th of October 2019, the Punch Newspaper reported that the ECOWAS Court indicted the Federal Government over 2018 Benue Mass killings. This judgment was given by a three member panel of the Community Court of Justice ECOWAS with suit number: ECW/CCJ/APP/16/18. The judgment was presided by Justice Edward Asante, President of the Court, Justice Keikura Bangura, and Hon. Januaria Costa.[5]

Between 2018 and 2019 Nigeria has lost millions of human resource to human rights violations both reported and unreported. The above stated scenarios are only a tiny fraction of the reports of human rights violations in Nigeria, as writing about more would turn this piece into a documentary. The list of violations in Nigeria is almost listless and cuts across almost every strata of the society. The government is supposed to be the hope of security for the common man, but today in Nigeria that hope has been shredded in pieces as Nigerians are being violated even in their homes. The apparent case of Nigeria’s hopelessness in tackling human right issues is seen in the plethora of violations by both state and non-state actors.

Article1, 2,3,4,5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right, Chapter 10 LFN 1990 and Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution enshrine the Protection of the Human Rights of Nigerians. The Federal Government is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the Human Rights of her citizens. It is therefore in the interest of the peace and development of our country that our governments should take up their responsibility of protecting the human rights of her citizens.

 “When the fundamental principles of human rights are not protected, the center of our institution no longer holds. It is they that promote development that is sustainable; peace that is secure; and lives of dignity.” – Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

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.

[1] https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/nigeria/62580/eu-annual-report-human-rights-and-democracy-world-2018-country-updates-nigeria_en

[2] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/nigeria

[3] https://www.unocha.org/nigeria/about-ocha-nigeria

[4] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/nigeria

[5] https://punchng.com/ecowas-court-indicts-fg-over-2018-benue-mass-killing/ 

 
 

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TWO-DAY ECONOMIC AND SOCIO-CULTURAL RIGHTS (ESCR) TRAINING FOR STAFF OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION(NHRC), ABUJA

PURPOSE:

This report provides a brief on the Economic & Socio-Cultural Rights training                                given to staff of the Commission.

TRAINING OBJECTIVES

The two-day training which took place in Abuja had the following objectives:

  • To enhance the capacity of Staff of National Human Rights Commission in their appreciation and understanding of Socio Economic Rights.
  • To enhance the capacity of Staff of the National Human Rights Commission in Investigating, Monitoring and Documentation of Socio Economic Rights violations.

 

  • To enhance the capacity of Staff of the National Human Rights Commission to effectively treat complaints arising from ESCR in a manner that will be beneficial to all within the parameters of the Constitution and International Charters.

 OVERVIEW

The training sessions took place between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm daily. Approximately 27 participants were in attendance. Participants were provided hard copies of most of the training topics discussed and e-copies will be sent to them as well.

As part of routine training methodology, trainees were encouraged to discuss challenges they encounter in the course of carrying out their duties as part of the class exercise.

METHODOLOGY

Sessions were vibrant and consisted of interactive discussions, question and answer sessions as well as power-point presentations.

 

CURRICULUM

The curriculum deployed took into consideration the wealth of experience trainees already have with a view to enhancing their knowledge of ESCR concepts vis-a-vis the current trend of governance in Nigeria in comparison to global best practices. Topics treated are indicated below:

  • History of Human Rights

Civil and political rights

– Economic Rights

-Labour/Environmental Rights

-Indivisibility and inter-dependence of Rights

 

  • The Legal Basis for ESC Rights

– Conventions

– Charters

– Resolutions

– National Laws

 

  • Types of ESC Rights

– Food

– Housing

– Water

-Health

– Education

– Security

 

  • Characteristics of ESC Rights

– Justiceability

– Progressive Realization

– Core Obligation ( Respect, Protect, and Fufill)

 

  • Content of ESC Rights

– Availability

-Adaptability

– Accessibility

– Acceptability

– Quality

 

  • Monitoring Approaches

– Violations Approach

– Progressive Realization Approach

– Core Obligation Approach

– Budget Analysis Approach

 

  • Monitoring Violations of ESC Rights

– Human Rights Education

– Information Gathering & Analysis

– Reporting

– Advocacy

– Solution building

 

TRAINING TOOLS

Power-point presentations and a robust ESCR training module were used to impart knowledge to participants. The links to both documents are embedded in this report for your perusal.

 CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED BY NHRC STAFF IN THE DISCHARGE OF DUTIES

Some of the difficulties participants mentioned included but might not be limited to the following:

  1. Lack of adequate cooperation from MDAs
  2. Inadequacy in Remedial measures
  3. Concrete strategy in the effective discharge of NHRC mandate in national HR Regime
  4. Funding

 RECOMMENDATIONS

Though the training was a success, two-days might be considered inadequate for the full assimilation of concepts of the breadth and depth of those highlighted within the ESCR principles. Lawyers Alert therefore strongly recommends a follow-up three-day training session which will build on the foundation already laid by this first phase of training in order to consolidate on the milestone attained to this point. Lawyers Alert is willing to work with the management of the NHRC to come up with suitable dates for the proposed training.

 

 

NEXT STEPS LESSONS LEARNT

 

Rising from the training and flowing from the enhanced knowledge, Participants were of the view that the NHRC at present while doing very commendably, reacts to issues as they arise, as against a more proactive approach in instilling human rights culture in governance especially as regards economic rights.

It is the understanding that going forward, the NHRC would strive to engage in several issues from budgets, poverty reduction, MDGs, employment, housing, education, water, health etc, in order to factor in human rights concerns.

Often policies and various administrative directives from Governmental Agencies are issued and carried out without recourse to human rights standards and the NHRC would pursuant to its mandate endeavor to see to the realization of this.

 

 

APPRECIATION

 

Lawyers Alert thanks the Executive Secretary for the opportunity to work with the NHRC on this all important assignment and we look forward to working again with your vibrant staff.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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