Friday, 6 January 2012

Nigeria: Human Rights Commission condemns crackdown

The Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which was set up by the Federal Government, has responded to the forceful crackdown against protesters by the police and other security forces. In a statement released to the media, it stated that: “The National Human Rights Commission affirms that the right to assemble freely and to protest or demonstrate peacefully is a human right recognised and guaranteed within Sections 39-40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 9-11 of the African charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which is domestic law in Nigeria”.

It further stated that the Government, in implementing its obligation, has a duty to “encourage its citizens to channel or express their grievances in a peaceful manner. Therefore, individuals or groups should be free to express their views, offer their criticisms, canvass their ideas for democratic change and improvement, and assemble or protest for these purposes provided they do not seek to propagate these ideas by violent means or in a manner that disturbs public peace, safety or security”.

NHRC went on to reprimand security agencies, saying: “At all times, it remains the obligation and responsibility of security agencies and law enforcement agents to ensure equal protection of all persons, including groups, within Nigeria and afford all the protections they require to exercise their constitutional rights”. The Commission reiterated that law enforcement agents must at all times respect and protect the human rights of all persons; avoid use of excessive force, arbitrary arrests and detention or resort to “third-degree” methods of policing.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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