By Ozobulu S. Precious Esq
The UN World Human Rights Day is celebrated on the 10th of December annually. This day was set aside by the United Nations in commemoration of the launch of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and to also use the occasion to create awareness on issues surrounding Human Rights across the world. It targets to hold governments to enhance the protection and defense of Rights and to also hold governments around the world to account for violations of Rights. Being a Rights based Civil Society Organization, Lawyers Alert joined the rest of the World to commemorate the date by putting up a panel discussion with key stakeholders to analyze the Human Rights situation in Nigeria against the backdrop of the theme for the year which was “Youths Stand Up for Human Rights”
Goal of the project:
To commemorate the World Human Rights day 2019 with a view towards increasing the protection and defense of Human Rights in Benue State and Nigeria
Objective of the Project:
To bring together 30 Human Rights activists to discuss and analyze issues around Human Rights in Nigeria with a view towards putting up effective recommendations to the identified issues
To increase the awareness and sensitization on human Rights issues through the publication of the proceedings in at least 2 Major tabloids.
The project started with the identification and mobilization of 30 participants cutting across different groups including Youth groups, Media, Faith based Groups, Student Union, Professional bodies, Public Institutions etc. The event proper took place on the 10th of December, 2019 at Makurdi Luxury Suite, Judges Quarters. A total of 31 participants were in attendance cutting across the aforementioned groups. The meeting commenced with a word of prayer after the arrivals and registration, the participants introduced themselves afterwards. An welcome address was given by the Programs Director of the Head office who stood in for the President of Lawyers Alert. Shortly afterwards, the facilitator of the panel discussion was called upon to kick start the event. Five (5) panelists were invited to partake in the discussion. The invited panelists included the State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Makurdi Field Office, The State Chairperson of FIDA, The Program Officer of Pro Bono Lawyers, a legal Officer from Lawyers Alert. Two of the panelists did not turn up including The National Human Rights Commission and FIDA. FIDA however came in late while National Human Rights Commission called and tendered their apologies. To make up for the absenting members, Maria Okorie, The Executive Director Global Women Health Rights and Empowerment Initiative (G-WHREI) was conscripted into the panel discussions.
The Panel discussions commenced with the Moderator Solumtochukwu Ozobulu Esq giving a broad overview of the discussion. She introduced the panelists and led in the definition of Human Rights. The discussion was then steered towards identifying what human rights were and how they affect the youth. Since the theme of the day was focused on youths standing up for rights, the panelists explored the laws explored the laws surrounding Human Rights as they affect the youth, the reason the UN chose the theme for the year, how youths can stand up for Human Rights, why youths should stand up for Human Rights and the consequences for not standing up for Human Rights. There was a comments, question and answer sessions where participants made comments, asked questions and contributions to the conversation. There were recommendations made at the meeting which include the following
Youths should develop a strong interest in Human Rights issues
Youths should develop their capacity on Human Rights Issues
Youths embark on constructive advocacy as champions
Youths should also be involved in governance issues like budgeting, access to social services, etc
In another development, Lawyers seized the opportunity to introduce our petty offenses project with focus on LACDOCK T, a web based tool for monitoring and documenting petty offenses in Nigeria.
The meeting came to an end at about 12:30 pm with a vote of thanks from Jerome Uneje, the Momitoring and Evaluation Officer. She thanked the participants for coming and urged them to always honour LA’ invitations.
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