North East: NHRC Records Low Cases of Human Rights Violation
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu Esq said the Commission has recorded a reduction in complaints of human rights violations against the military in the North East in recent times during counter insurgency operations.
Ojukwu made this disclosure during a Two-day training programme on Mainstreaming Human Rights and Humanitarian Principles and Civilian Protection into Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East.
At the training which was put together by the Commission in collaboration with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Maiduguri, Borno State, the Executive Secretary observed that mutual collaboration and meaningful engagement with the military over time, has drastically reduced the inflow of cases of human rights violation by the military into the Commission.
He noted that there is also improved commitment to accountability for human rights violations by the military and other law enforcement agencies “The Human Rights/Military dialogue and human rights desks are being strengthened to sustain the current improvements” he added.
He said the training will better enhance the performance of officers during operations which will in turn reduce collateral damage resulting from insurgency operations. “There is plan to step down the trainings to the brigades, platoons and other military formations and units like the human rights desks” he said.
The Human Rights Boss said the Commission is also collaborating with the military authorities, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Civilians in Conflict, to develop a national policy for the protection of civilians and civilian harm mitigation, adding that the policy is awaiting approval by the Federal Executive Council.
He stated further that the training will also sustain the gains made in the fight against insurgency “it is now a common knowledge that Nigeria has recorded significant gains against Boko Haram and we give kudos to officers and men of law enforcement agencies for the sacrifices you are making despite the current challenges”.
The Rights Commission’s head also pointed that the NHRC is currently working in collaboration with the military authorities to further review their Rules of Engagement (RoE) and provide a handbook on human rights and humanitarian law for the officers in the frontlines.
According to the Country Representative of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), Mr. Anthonio Canhandula, the services provided by Security Personnel provide security, peace, and stability in any country.
Ms Malaika Balikishuwa who represented the UNHCR Country Rep said the UNHCR recognizes the critical role the security actors play in protecting the civilians especially during the periods of conflicts.
She called on participants to apply the skills acquired from the training in their areas of deployment. She expressed hope that peace will return to the North East and people will regain their dignity and return to their normal lives.
Participants at the training expressed optimism that the training will greatly empower them to know more about human rights protection during their counter insurgency operations, saying it will enhance their capacity in mainstreaming human rights norms and humanitarian principles into their operations in the North East.
About fifty participants cutting across the military and other law enforcement officers were in attendance.