GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS
Over the years, our country has been making giant strides with respect to fulfilling its regional and international human rights obligations. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been committed to its mandate to sensitize the Government on the need for continues improvement on national and international human rights reporting obligations. Furthermore, many stakeholders are aware of the positive impact these reporting obligations have on the enjoyment and realization of human rights in Nigeria.
- In order to ensure that the country continues to improve on its human rights reporting obligations and to enhance public enlightenment on the regional and international review process of the human rights situation in Nigeria as well as the enjoyment of human rights, there is need therefore to institutionalize a broad national consultative process to assess the human rights situation in the country periodically and ensure steady progress in the realization of rights.
- It is against this backdrop that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), deems it necessary to facilitate an annual national stakeholder’s summit on human rights in Nigeria.
Furthermore, at the 2009 United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nigeria, the federal government supported among other several recommendations “to institutionalize a National Consultative Forum to promote dialogue in the field of human rights”. The Annual Human Rights Summit will therefore provide the platform for human rights stakeholders to meet annually to put into proper perspective various issues concerning the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in Nigeria.
Justification for the Summit
- The increasing need to engage all MDAs and Civil Society groups on human rights violations in Nigeria makes the Annual Human Rights Summit an imperative strategy for policy appraisal, dialogue and agenda setting in the area of human rights. The NHRC, which is the country’s apex human rights institution, has the institutional and leadership capacity to midwife the Annual Human Rights Summit in Nigeria.
- The Annual Human Rights Summit will address the 2009 UPR Recommendation which enjoins Nigeria to establish a National Consultative Forum as a platform for dialogue on human rights issues in Nigeria. The Summit is expected to provide an excellent opportunity for the review of Nigeria’s performance with reference to the protection and promotion of human rights by relevant stakeholders. It is also an imperative strategy for policy appraisal, and agenda setting in the area of human rights. The Summit will be a significant tool to monitor and assess human rights situation in the country as well as an advocacy tool to lobby both state and non-sate actors to address critical areas with impact on the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in Nigeria.
- The key objectives of the Summit are:
- To provide a platform for an annual appraisal of the human rights situation in Nigeria by relevant stakeholders;
- To provide a platform for relevant Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to present their score cards with reference to promotion and protection of human rights;
- To provide a platform for further consultations, dialogue, policy direction and agenda setting among relevant stakeholders;
- To develop appropriate strategies to follow up on the commitments of the Federal, State and Local Government authorities with respect to the realization of human rights in Nigeria;
- To identify positive human rights developments, the gaps and challenges, emerging issues and priorities for the summit year;
- To assess national development agenda policies and programmes of governments at all levels viz-a-viz their role in the enjoyment and realization of human rights;
- To stimulate debate, identify new approaches while promoting the replication and scaling-up of demonstrated successful interventions, and contribute to the building of partnerships and synergies for appropriate actions;
- To recognize and present excellence awards to institutions and individuals who have contributed immensely to the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria;
- The Summit will also identify appropriate actions for the following year and concrete follow-up strategies in order to ensure the integration of rights-based approach into Nigeria’s development agenda as well as the post-2019 development framework.
- The report of the Summit will capture the richness of the debates on various thematic areas as well as the key aspects of presentations made and identify ways forward.
- Expected Result
- Participants at the summit would have identified trends and challenges and developed clear and verifiable strategies towards effective human rights promotion and protection in Nigeria;
- Participants would have been inspired by the exchange of experiences, and best practices that will lead to application of rights-based approach in their strategic plans;
- Agreed on strategies on annual improvement of human rights situation in Nigeria;
- Participants will feel committed to take individual and institutional actions that will lead to effective realization of human rights in Nigeria.
- Constructive partnership between stakeholders would be developed especially between state and non-state actors;
- Better awareness among stakeholders of regional and international review process on improvement of human rights situation in Nigeria.
- Awards will inspire healthy competition amongst MDAs, CSOs and individuals to mainstream human rights into our national life and build a culture of respect for human rights in Nigeria.
- The National Human Rights Summit which will run for three days (8th-10th) December, 2019, has as its theme: Adopting Rights-based Approach in the Public Sector Sustainable Development Agenda and will focus strategically on thematic areas that are crucial to the realization and enjoyment of human rights in Nigeria. These are as follows:
- Civil and Political Rights
- Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Women, Children and Other Vulnerable Groups
- Mainstreaming Human Rights in Nigeria Humanitarian Response to Insurgency
- Business and Human Rights
- Building a Culture of Accountability
- The Role of the Media in Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nigeria.
- The keynote address will be delivered by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who will also declare the Summit open on Sunday, 8th December, 2019 by 4pm.
- There will also be presentations by selected state Governments across the geo-political zones of the country
- Papers will be presented by reputable academics and human rights advocates to be followed by panel discussions and general comments.
- There will be syndicate sessions to identify challenges and proffer way forward.
- Each summit will come up with summary of the year’s human rights situation and set agenda for the coming year;
- A communiqué will be issued at the end of each summit;
- Proceedings and report of the summit will be printed and disseminated to all key participants for follow-up actions;
- Reports of the Summit will be used as inputs to prepare State of Annual Human Rights Reports and other national reports to regional and international human rights monitoring bodies.
- The Summit will also be used to finalize the review of the Draft National Action Plan for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nigeria (2020 – 2023).
- Participants for the Summit
Participants will be drawn from Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), UN Agencies and Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations, Media, Academia, organized private sector (OPS), women and youths groups, and Faith-based organizations (FBO), etc.
- Human Rights Awards
As part of the activities slated for the 2019 Human Rights Summit, the National Human Rights Commission will present Human Rights awards to individuals, Federal/State Agencies and Corporate institutions in recognition of their contributions to Human Rights Protection in Nigeria. The aim of the award is to honor the recipients and encourage more commitments in the promotion, protection and enforcement of Human Rights in Nigeria.
- Nominations for the award have already been announced and are running in various media platforms dedicated for this purpose. Your votes for the various nominees will decide who picks the award in the end.
Nominations should be addressed to:
The Executive Secretary
National Human Rights Commission
No. 19 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama
Members of the public are hereby invited to nominate persons, Corporate institutions, Governmental and non-Governmental organizations that merit the award, bearing in mind:
- The nominees work or contributions in promoting, protecting, defending, monitoring and reporting rights abuses /violations.
- The impact of the nominees work in creating an enabling environment conducive for the enjoyment of human rights and sustainable development.
- The extent to which the nominees work addresses the needs and rights of the people.
- Gentlemen of the press, this Summit will remain an annual event that will be sustained for the benefits of all Nigerians and non- Nigerians residing in this Country. May I therefore call on you, our great ally to kindly lend your support for its success.
Thank you for your attention+.
TONY OJUKWU ESQ