Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A Civil society group, Centre for Mmadu on Human Rights, C4M, has commenced campaigned aimed at ending all forms of oppression, tyranny and authoritarian rule across the globe.
Executive Director of the group, Barr. Uju Okeke who spoke during a workshop in Onitsha said the group is also championing a campaign for the United Nations to declare May 18 globally as an international day for the prevention of Authoritarianism and to eliminate all forms of violence against persons.
Powered by the May18 Memorial Foundation, the group called on heroes of war against oppression who desire a violence free world to sign a petition to the UN for the campaign.
The group noted that the world yearns for true democracy because it breeds development noting also that in the absence of democracy and democratic institutions, oppression holds sway, fueling violence through intimidation.
“Violence is any act which causes another person physical, psychological, economic and sexual harm in private or in public. Violence against persons, in all its forms is condemned and prohibited by laws and treaties at the regional and international levels. However, we have a growing concern as governments are becoming authoritarian, thereby destroying true democracy” the group noted.
The workshop listed signs of authoritarianism to include the increased use of military in civilian affairs, intimidation of media, breaching freedom of expression, enthronement of loyalty to personalities in government instead of the Constitution and stifling of opposition and civil society.
Other signs included abandoning meritocracy in appointments, disregard for the rule of law , using the law as instruments of oppression and persecution, violation of human rights and diminishing of political participation.
Speaking on the topic “Understanding Authoritarianism and its consequences” a human rights activist and lecturer in political science, Charles Ejefonye said authoritarian regimes often creates allegiance through indoctrination while there is no free and fair election in such government.
He said such regimes rely often in coercion and use of instruments of coercion like the police which impedes democratic development.
Another Activist, Tochukwu Ikwuemesi who spoke on “Citizen’s response to authoritarianism urged citizens to join platforms where they can speak as a group instead of a lone voice in challenging oppressive governments.