The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu has called on Nigerians to put an end to structural discrimination, ethnicity, nepotism, hatred and intolerance to curb human rights violations by saying never again and build the country we want from the rumbles of the Covid-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests.
This was contained in a press statement he signed on the occasion of the celebration of 20202 International Human Rights Day, on 10th December, 2020.
Below is the full text of the press statement
As the world celebrates 2020 international Human Rights Day, we in Nigeria join the rest of the world to mark this auspicious occasion to thank God for overcoming the challenges that have confronted the protection and promotion of human the world over and Nigeria in particular. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Recover better- Stand Up for Human Rights”
The theme is in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and draws attention to the need to recover and build back better by ensuring Human Rights are at the center of the recovery initiatives. We can only achieve our “common global goals if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination”.
The 10th of December every day Constitutes an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
As we “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the Nigerian public, our partners and the world community to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.
As you are aware, Human rights are at the heart of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Human rights are the bedrock of human dignity without which we cannot hope to drive sustainable development. Human Rights thrive on the progress of all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights.
From the ongoing, it is clear that human rights must be at the center of COVID-19 recovery efforts of our country. All government agencies are therefore reminded of the need to mainstream human rights into their post COVID-19 recovery efforts if we must continue in a sustainable way to achieve the SDG and the 2030 development agenda.
The crisis pursuant to the pandemic has been fueled by deepening poverty, rising inequalities, structural and entrenched discrimination and other gaps in human rights protection. Only measures to close these gaps and advance human rights can ensure we fully recover and build back a world that is better, more resilient, just, and sustainable.
As we celebrate 2020 international Human Rights Day, the commission enjoins all stakeholders to make concerted efforts to join the rest of the world to do the following;
End discrimination of any kind: Structural discrimination, ethnicity, nepotism, hatred and intolerance have fuelled the COVID-19 crisis. Equality and non-discrimination are core requirements for a post-COVID recovery.
Address inequalities: To recover from the crisis, we must also address the inequality fueled by the pandemic. For that, we need to promote and protect economic, social, and cultural rights.
Encourage participation and solidarity: We are all in this together. From individuals to governments, from civil society and grass-roots communities to the private sector, everyone has a role in building a post-COVID world that is better for present and future generations.
We need to ensure the voices of the most affected, the youth and vulnerable inform the recovery efforts. We must consider a new social contract for a new social order through engagements. With the agitations of Nigerian youths following the END SARS PROTESTS, this has become inevitable in our polity.
Promote sustainable development: We need sustainable development for people and planet. Climate change is real. Human rights, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are the cornerstone of a recovery that leaves no one behind.
End sexual and gender-based violence and create an environment where every segment of society especially women, boys and girls have equal Opportunity to realize their full potentials in dignity and contribute equally to National development.
Uphold the rule of law and justice and create an egalitarian society where there is respect for the judiciary and law enforcement agents abhor brutality and impunity and become agents for protection rather than repression of citizens and their rights.
Grow and Promote responsible leadership that is built on sacrifice for national development and focused on sustainable and enduring legal, policy and administrative reforms.
In conclusion, the pandemic and the End SARS protests provide an opportunity to say never again. Yes, we can build an enviable future, build the Nigeria we want, and say never again. With human rights, Yes, we can say never again.
Thank you and happy 2020 international Human Rights Day.