NHRC, Lawyer Launch Book To Deepen Understanding Of UPR
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on MDAs, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to make “Dialectics of Rights: Nigeria’s Engagement with the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council, a working tool in understanding and dealing with human rights issues.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq. who stated this in Abuja at the public presentation of the book written by Dr. Uchenna Emelonye, observed that “it is the first of its kind in Nigeria, a single publication x-raying Nigeria’s three times engagement of the UPR process”.
In his welcome address at the event, the Chief Human Rights Officer describe the book as an insightful work of research, saying that the document is a veritable piece upon which the various actors in both government and civil society can learn from and build on to successfully engage future UPR processes.
Ojukwu who also co-edited the book, reiterated that the goal of the UPR seeks to improve human rights situation in every country through regular assessment of human rights developments and challenges faced by the member states
“The Commission set out to collaborate with Dr. Uche Emelonye in putting together this piece of document in fulfilment of its role to facilitate understanding, research and discuss around human rights issues to enable Nigeria fulfil its international human rights obligations and improve the climate for enjoyment of human rights in Nigeria” the Chief Human Rights Officer disclosed.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a human rights promotion and protection system of the United Nations General Assembly that came into existence through Resolution 60/251 of March,2006. The review is to assess the commitment of member states to their international human rights obligations.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama who was also the Chairman of the book launch stated that Nigeria is an important player in global and regional stability and is entirely committed to partnership with countries of similar disposition in the promotion and protection of human rights home and abroad.
“We have fully participated in the UPR process since inception and have been reviewed on three different occasions ;February 2009, October 2013 and November 2018, ” he noted.
Speaking at the event, Amb Akinremi Alade Bolaji, who represented the Minister,revealed that under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, there have been series of remarkable contributions in ensuring that the fundamental human rights of Nigerians are protected abroad.
“The Ministry through its Missions abroad has attended to notable amounts of petitions from Nigerians in Diaspora concerning human rights abuses” he added.
In his key note address, the Attorney General,Abubakar Malami SAN stated that Nigeria demonstrates its commitment to the UPR process by granting access to the UN Special Rapporteurs to visit Nigeria.
“In August and September 2019,Nigeria played host to the Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and the Special Rapporteur on the right to Housing” he pointed out.
Representing the Honourable Attorney General, Abiodun Aikhomu esq, appreciated the laudable achievements of the commission which includes mainstreaming respect for human rights in internal security operations by the military and other security forces, addressing the menace of sexual and gender based violence, development of National Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and mainstreaming rights- based approach in sustainable development plans and implementation.
The review of the book was done by Eze Onyekpere esq. In his analysis ,he said the publication reported Nigeria’s engagement with the Universal Periodic Review from the First National Report to the Third National Report.
It documented Nigeria’s report, United Nation’s Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures reports, other stakeholders report, Report of the Working Group and the Response of the Nigerian Delegation.
Onyekpere said the 357 page publication has filled a vacuum. It is the first of its kind, the three Nigerian Universal Periodic Reports cut across all generation of human rights, from civil, political, economic, social, environmental, children and women, persons living with disability, vulnerability, gay and lesbians.
Speaking on the content of the publication “the reports were far reaching and sought to portray what the government had done in fulfilment of its obligations. For researchers, journalists, historians, this work provides a detailed rich account that can be relied upon in preparing dissertations, teaching students human rights and for the media to inform the public”he added.
The highlight of the event was the public presentation of the book which was done by the Chairman of the occasion.
There were goodwill messages from the Prof. Joy Ezeilo, Executive Director WACOL, Chief of Defence staff, Nigerian Correctional Center, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Vice-Chairman NBA Bwari Branch.
Also appreciation from the author Uchenna Emelonye esq toeveryone who contributed to his professional and career growth.
Vote of thanks was given by the Director Civil &Political Rights,Dr Abdulrahman Yakubu.