Every year December 10 is International Human Rights Day. This year’s theme Stand Up For Someone’s Rights Today is particularly instructive, and come Dec 10 2016, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ will join the rest of humanity to stand up for Human Rights. We have drawn up a programme of activities for that day thus:
ANEEJ HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2016
10TH DECEMBER, 2016.
@ANEEJ INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT,
39 OYAIDE STREET BENIN CITY.
THEME: STAND UP FOR SOMEONE’S RIGHTS TODAY
- ARRIVAL & REGISTRATION OF GUESTS
- OPENING PAYERS AND WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE REV DAVID UGOLOR, ANEEJ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
- INTRODUCTION OF THE MODERATOR
- PAPER PRESENTATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES BY MR. LEO ATAKPU
- SLIDE PRESENTATION ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT RESEARCH BY SANDRA EGUAGIE AND LAUNCHING OF THE SKIT VIDEO – BUSTED
- INTRODUCTION OF PANELISTS TO THE HIGH TABLE
- Jennifer Ero, Child Protection Network
- FIDA, Federation of International Women Lawyers
- Sam Abasilim: African Bar Association secretary
- Maria Obazuwaye Girls Power Initiative
- Igbotako Nowinta, Development Alliance of the Niger Delta, DAND.
- ENTERTAINMENT AND LIGHT REFRESHMENT
- QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
Follow us on these hashtags: #humanrightsday, #Standforhumanrights, #humanrightsday
To commemorate that day, ANEEJ Monitoring and Evaluation officer, Charles Iyare, X-ray’s and diagnoses issues of human Rights abuses in Nigeria…enjoy.
Diagnosing Citizens Rights in Nigeria
On May 29, Daily Trust journalist Joseph Hir was beaten, allegedly by supporters of the Nassarawa state governor for writing a “negative” report about the governor. A month later, Yomi Olomofe, executive director of Prime magazine, and McDominic Nkpemenyie, a correspondent with Tide newspaper, were severely beaten and injured by a group of people at Seme customs border post in Lagos. The group was allegedly upset by previous unfavourable reports of their activities by the journalists. Recently, it was reported in a Human Rights Watch publication that camp officials, police and soldiers in IDP camps, raped and sexually exploited about 43 women and girls living in seven Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Records of Human Rights violations in Nigeria are still worrisome with increasing spate of extra-judicial killings, illegal arrests, unnecessary detention and torture, rape and assault of innocent citizens. Security operatives, other relevant authorities burdened with the responsibility to protect citizens’ rights, are culpable in violating the rights of many. There are countless cases of unreported Human Rights abuses, because victims are losing faith in the lack of determination by responsible government agencies, traditional and religious institutions, and individuals, who fail to protect victims. Women and children, are mostly affected and vulnerable to constant abuses even within their family.
The National Human Rights Commission Act 2010 has its functions and powers articulated in Part 2, Section 5 to (b) monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the President for the prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance; (c) assist victims of human rights violation and seek appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf.
Despite these laws, the insurgency in Nigeria has destroyed more than 910 schools and forced at least 1,500 more to close. At least 611 teachers have been deliberately killed and another 19,000 forced to flee, leaving more than one million children without access to education. Over 2,300 civilians have been abducted, many of them women and girls. These women and girls are displaced, married out, made to forsake their education and endure physical and psychological abuses, forced labour, and are raped in captivity’.
The 2016 International Human Rights theme being: ‘Stand Up for Someone’s Rights Today’! is a clear indication that government must live up to its expectation of standing up to curb the incessant cases of Human Rights abuses, which is now wide-spread in all parts of the country. Government must be committed to providing homes to thousands of internally displaced persons, provision of security for vulnerable women and children. The seeming inability of government to provide basic socio-amenities like potable drinking water, adequate security, quality education, employment, eradication of child labor and marriage, human trafficking, among others, will shortchange the rights of Nigerians who are pre-disposed to humanitarian crisis.
Key government institutions like the National Emergency Response Management Agency (NERMA), security operatives, are slow and ill equipped in conflict and disaster management response. This has hindered the attempts by relevant agencies to curb humanitarian crisis around the country. Perpetrators of rights violations have continuously capitalised on the weaknesses and inactiveness of relevant agencies to ponder, assault and infringe on the rights of many Nigerians.
Even though Article 25 (c) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (to which Nigeria and 166 other countries are party) provides the rights and opportunity of citizens to: ‘have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in their country’, yet these constitutional provisions have not been effectively utilized to curb the huge threat, onslaught, and impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of Human Rights violation in Nigeria.
We stress the need for government to reaffirm its position of defending the rights of IDPs, persons with disabilities, women and children, indigenous peoples, minority group, press freedom and others at risk of discrimination or violence. Corruption and weak governance undermines the tenets of basic Human Rights for many Nigerians who live in abject poverty.
Nigeria must be seen by key international actors as a country that is willing to address Human Rights abuses, as well as putting adequate and stringent measures in place to ensure that citizens’ rights are well protected. Nigerian government should comply with the provisions in the local and international Human Rights laws. Most especially being signatory to some of the global charter on human rights. There must be synergy between government and international organisations in the full implementation of Human Rights laws and full sanction of groups, institutions and individuals, no matter how highly placed who violates other people’s rights.
The decision by the Nigerian Army/government to establish human rights desk, including receiving documents, investigate complaints from individuals, organisations and institution on rights violation involving the NA personnel and the forwarding of report findings to the office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on human rights complaints in the country, is a welcome development. But more commitment needs to be done to ensure that issues of human rights abuses in Nigeria are effectively and timely addressed to reduce the plights of citizens whose rights are being abused, ensure that common people have access to justice and their rights respected.
In recent times, ANEEJ has stood for the rights of Nigerians who have experienced one form of rights violation or the other. In 2016, we championed the case of Benson Ogedengbe, a local vigilante in Oghara Delta state who was shot dead by the Nigerian army. ANEEJ took up the case and investigations led to the arrest of the culprits in the army. Eki Torubiri, a poor housewife who had not seen her husband in a week asked ANEEJ to petition the State security services after her efforts to locate him through radio and television were abortive. ANEEJ has petitioned the SSS and written letters to the editors of many mainstream newspapers. The search is still on.
Even though not passed, ANEEJ has been fighting for the establishment of the Public Defenders Council in Edo and has asked for the domestication of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA in Edo State as well.