The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City, with funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy convened a one-day roundtable on Voluntary Principle on Security and Human Rights, an international instruments that guides companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The roundtable was attended by about 30 participants drawn from Nigerian Civil Society Organizations working on human rights and the extractive industries, Diplomatic Corps, Government Agencies, representative from the National Assembly, Journalist among others.
The roundtable was used to share experience from the international perspective on Voluntary Principles and the workability of the instrument in other countries and the possibility of Nigerian government signing on to the Principles. The roundtable was also used to expand the dialogue around the applicability and relevance of the voluntary principles on Security and Human Rights to the Nigerian context.
Participants observed the lack of political will on the part of Nigerian government to sign on to the principle on security and human rights but noted that the Voluntary Principles create enormous opportunity for dialogue and experience sharing among stakeholders in the extractive sector.
Participants also observed that government apathy towards signing on to the voluntary principle on security and human rights is unacceptable and thus CSOs should do all within the law to ensure the government endorsed the principles.
In concluding the roundtable, participants took the following decisions:
1. That there is need for the voluntary principle on security and human rights documents to be developed into smaller and simpler handbook with the interest of stakeholders identified and distributed widely among the Nigerians to raise their level of understanding on the issue.
2. Encouraged the Nigerian government to ensure that the country is adequately represented at the upcoming conference on the Voluntary Principles which will be coming up in March, 2014.
3. CSOs should make every effort to engage the relevant stakeholders through sustained advocacy such as the presidency, Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Bar Association, Organised Labour, relevant Committees of the National Assembly.
4. Host community should be engage to get involved in the discussion around the voluntary principles to safeguard their rights and obligations under the principles.
5. Encouraged civil society organizations to use the advantage created by their networks to propagate the Principles using various channels.
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
Mohammed Bougei Attah
Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative (PRADIN)
Center for Social Justice
Development Exchange Center, Bauchi
Publish What You Pay
Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Center (CISLAC)