The Federal Government, has restated its commitment to the United Nations in adhering to the protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism in the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, while speaking at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, said in prosecuting the fight against terrorism in the country, the Federal Government recognised the importance of adherence to international human rights obligations.
Onyeama also said the fight against terrorism remained a priority for the Federal Government, adding that in light of the need to ensure respect for human rights and professionalism, President Muhammadu Buhari, has committed to the retraining and human rights awareness raising of the Nigerian military in engaging the growing exigencies of security in the country.
Onyeama further said the President has underscored the point that professionalism, and a culture of respect for human rights among the armed forces and other security agencies were essential policy thrusts of his administration in the fight against terrorism, the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of criminalities that have bedevilled Nigeria.
He stated that with the establishment of a Human Rights Desk at the headquarters and formations of the Armed Forces and inauguration of the Department of Civil-Military Relations, the Nigerian military and security agencies are continually sensitized on the imperative of respect for human rights while countering terrorism.
The minister further said the Nigerian Army has earned accolades for Military Aid to Civil Populace (MACP) engagements at home and abroad.
“I seize this opportunity to reiterate that Nigeria remains committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, devoid of any discrimination, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to the work of the Human Rights Council as it vigorously pursues the implementation of its core mandate of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama further said with the launch of the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which focused on building institutions, as well as de-radicalisation and re-integration programmes, a number of repentant Boko Haram fighters have undergone de-radicalisation processes and have been re-integrated back into the society.
He stated that recent reforms in the judicial sector have also strengthened the rule of law, access to justice and human rights, the right to be protected, enhanced community resilience; sustainable livelihoods; peace-to-prosperity efforts; Community Violence Reduction (CVR) and integrated strategic communication to curtail and counter violent extremism.
Earlier, Onyeama said the world must recognize that the achievement of society’s full human potential and sustainable development will not be possible if the vulnerable members of the societies do not enjoy their full human rights and opportunities.
Onyeama added that women and girls, for instance, must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources, political participation, as well as equal opportunities for employment, leadership positions, and participation in decision-making at all levels.
The minister also said the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and fundamental freedoms were critical elements for the achievement of international peace and security, and the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
“It is for this reason that the international community must support the mandate and operations of the Human Rights Council in its quest to strengthen institutions in upholding the human rights of all, especially as it relates to gender equality and women empowerment, as well as the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls across the globe,” Onyeama also said.
…Venezuela: FG calls for engagement with opposition
The Federal Government, has urged the Government of Venezuela to engage its opposition group in order to ensure peace in the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the call on behalf of the government during a meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The media aide to Onyeama, Sarah Sanda, in a statement made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, said while speaking after the meeting, Onyeama disclosed that they discussed the current situation in Venezula.
The Minister encouraged his Venezuela counterpart on the need to continue to engage with the opposition and ensure the legislative election Venezuela planned to hold soon will be truly free fair and conclusive.
“The problem Venezuela is facing today started 4-5 years ago with legislative elections which snowballed into the unfortunate situation there today. So, we are keen to encourage them to reach out to the opposition and make sure those elections are free, fair and conclusive,” Onyeama said.
On his part, the Venezuelan minister spoke on the bilateral relations between Venezuela and Nigeria and expressed the desire of the President of Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro, to Visit President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sanda further said the cooperation between Latin America and Africa and the need to revive the existing institutional mechanism for cooperation between the African Union and South American States and their working relationships within existing Africa South America (ASA) structures was also discussed.
“We believe there is a lot we can achieve together. Both regions are rich in raw materials and complementary experiences. So, we discussed these possibilities,” the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said.