The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu Esq said the 2020 NHRC/United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Returnees Protection Monitoring Project will beam its search light on the Protection of IDPs and other Vulnerable Groups (Population of Concern) who are incarcerated in Correction Facilities and other detention facilities in the North East.
Ojukwu stated this during the End of Year/2020 Proposal Finalization meeting of the Project organized by the NHRC and the UNHCR in Yola, Adamawa State.
He said the 2020 project will focus on access to justice and protection of IDPs and other vulnerable groups in detention facilities, noting that some of them are suffering double jeopardy. “Despite their situation of displacement, they are needlessly detained without due process for minor offences”.
He commended the effort of the Federal government and the military in combating violent extremism in the North East which he said has been on steady decline since 2015. He added that “we no more have territories under the captivity of Boko haram, the number of insurgencies related indiscriminate arrest has also greatly reduced, with increase in the number of displaced persons returning to their communities”.
However, the human rights Executive Secretary called for a more concerted effort by all the stakeholders with protection mandate to continue to work as a team to improve on the protection needs of the population of concern, while urging them to strengthen the referral pathway and also speed up their response pattern.
On the issue of the reintegration of repentant Boko Haram into the communities, Ojukwu said there is need to prepare the minds of the people in such communities to take them back and give them a sense of belonging, adding that if they are properly reintegrated into the communities, it will discourage them from going back to the old bad habits.
He used the medium to commend the continuous support of UNHCR since 2015, noting that the project has made lives meaningful for the population of concern as it has successfully addressed numerous human rights and humanitarian challenges of this vulnerable group over a period of time.
The human rights monitors expressed satisfaction at the successes recorded despite the difficult terrain they have to work in, saying they will build on the successes recorded in 2019 and do more in 2020.