Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government has said that the promotion of human rights is key to the attainment of international peace and security.
The government also expressed its strong commitment to ensuring the full and efficient implementation of the provisions of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama made the remarks while speaking during the High-Level Segment (6th meeting) of the 37th Regular Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Onyeama expressed Nigeria’s appreciation for the overwhelming support extended to the nation during Nigeria’s quest for re-election to the Human Rights Council in October 2017.
Onyeama assured Nigeria’s friends and partners of the nation’s readiness for the promotion of the achievement of the core mandate of the UN Human Rights Council.
“Mr. Vice President, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, it is pertinent to recognise that the promotion and protection of human rights remains one of the most important modalities for the attainment of international peace and security.
“Nigeria remains strongly committed to ensuring the full and efficient implementation of the provisions of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. To this end, a number of human rights related bills have been passed into law by our National Assembly. These are the Anti-Torture Act (2017); the Comprehensive Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot Act (2017); and the National Senior Citizens Center Act (2017); and more human rights related laws will be enacted as Nigeria continues to develop its legal and institutional frameworks towards fulfilling our international obligations,” Onyeama said.
On the fight against terrorism, Onyeama told the audience that Nigeria appreciates and fully recognises the imperative of respect for human rights and adherence to international human rights obligations.
Onyeama further said with the establishment of the Human Rights Desk in the Nigeria Defence Headquarters, the nation’s security agencies are continually being sensitized on the imperative of respect for human rights while countering terrorism.
Onyeama recalled the launch of a National Action Plan by the Federal Government for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
This, Onyeama said, is with particular focus on strengthening institutions and coordination in preventing and countering violent extremism, strengthening the rule of law, access to justice in human rights, engaging communities and building resilience and integrating strategic communication.
“Furthermore, we have set up a judicial commission to review the compliance of the Armed Forces with the ethos and obligations of human rights, as well as applicable rules of engagement, especially in local conflicts and in the ongoing fight against terrorism,” Onyeama further said.
Onyeama also said that following the submission of the report of the Commission to the government, all credible issues of human rights violations identified in the report will be dealt with according to the nation’s law.
Onyeama further spoke on the fight against corruption in the country, saying that the Federal Government believed that the right to development, which is a fundamental importance to Nigeria, is being hampered with the menace of corruption.
While stating that the availability of safe havens for proceeds of corruption remained a major attraction for corruption in the nation’s society, Onyeama said Nigeria would continue to seek international cooperation in its quest for unconditional repatriation of proceeds of corruption starched in foreign jurisdictions to countries of origin.