HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 43RD REGULAR SESSION AGENDA ITEM 2: GENERAL DEBATE ON THE HIGH COMMISSIONER’S ORAL UPDATE



Date: 2020-03-02

STATEMENT   DELIVERED BY 
THE
  HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, 
H.E. GEOFFREY ONYEAMA   
AT THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE 43RD SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
25TH FEBRUARY 2020 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
 
Mr. Vice President, 
Your Excellencies, 
Distinguished Delegates, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

             On behalf of the Government of Nigeria, I congratulate H.E Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, President of the 14th Cycle of the Human Rights Council and other members of the Bureau for your election. In line with extant provisions, your election has entrusted you with the mandate of leading and co-ordinating the work of the Council for the year 2020. We assure you of Nigeria’s support and cooperation, as you lead the work of this important body. 

2.      I also congratulate the fourteen (14) Member States that were elected into the Human Rights Council during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). I reassure you all of Nigeria’s willingness to partner with other Member States of the Council in promoting the core mandates of the Council.   

Mr. Vice President, 

3.      This Session is holding at a time the world is preparing to mark the twenty-fifth (25th) anniversary of the Fourth (4th) World Conference on Women and Adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This milestone is pivotal for accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls the world over. It is pertinent to recognise that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a substantial contribution to the progress and prosperity of nations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. 

4.      We must recognize that the achievement of society’s full human potential and sustainable development will not be possible if vulnerable members of our societies do not enjoy their full human rights and opportunities. Women and girls, for instance, must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources, political participation, as well as equal opportunities for employment, leadership positions, and participation in decision- making at all levels. 

5.      The promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and fundamental freedoms are critical elements for the achievement of international peace and security, and the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It is for this reason that the international community must support the mandate and operations of the Human Rights Council in its quest to strengthen institutions in upholding the human rights of all, especially as it relates to gender equality and women empowerment, as well as the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls across the globe. 

6.      I seize this opportunity to reiterate that Nigeria remains committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, devoid of any discrimination, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to the work of the Human Rights Council, as it vigorously pursues the implementation of its core mandate of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.   

Mr. Vice President, 

7.      The fight against terrorism remains a priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria. In light of the need to ensure respect for human rights and professionalism, President Buhari has committed to the retraining and human rights awareness raising of the Nigerian military in engaging the growing exigencies of security in the country. The President has underscored the point that professionalism, and a culture of respect for human rights among the armed forces and other security agencies are essential policy thrusts of his administration in the fight against terrorism, the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of criminalities that have bedevilled Nigeria. 

8.      In prosecuting the fight against terrorism, Nigeria recognises the importance of adherence to international human rights obligations. With the establishment of a Human Rights Desk at the Headquarters and formations of the Armed Forces and inauguration of the Department of Civil-Military Relations, our military and security agencies are continually sensitized on the imperative of respect for human rights, while countering terrorism. The Nigerian Army has earned accolades for Military Aid to Civil Populace (MACP) engagements at home and abroad. 

9.      Furthermore, with the launch of the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which focuses on building institutions, as well as de-radicalisation and re-integration programmes, a number of repentant Boko Haram fighters have undergone de-radicalisation processes, and have been re-integrated back into the society. Recent reforms in the judicial sector have also strengthened the Rule of Law, Access to Justice and Human Rights, the right to be protected, enhanced community resilience; sustainable livelihoods; peace-to-prosperity efforts; Community Violence Reduction (CVR) and integrated strategic communication to curtail and counter Violent Extremism. 

Mr. Vice President, 

10.    The North-East Development Commission (NEDC) has been empowered through budgetary allocation and relevant institutional structures. Moreover, our policy to ensure post-conflict recovery and build a counter-criminality environment, for speedy rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism in the North-East, is being vigorously pursued. 

11.    In addition, Nigeria has created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. This is to enable us to respond adequately and expeditiously to humanitarian emergencies in the country. It also affords us the opportunity to interface with other humanitarian actors and engender proper co-ordination of humanitarian activities and disaster management. 

Mr. Vice President, 

12.    There is no doubt that corruption hampers development, as it impedes and frustrates the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). My Delegation therefore calls for continued international cooperation in the effort to repatriate looted funds stashed in foreign jurisdictions back to Nigeria. The availability of the funds will further facilitate the full enjoyment of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms for our citizens. Nigeria therefore calls for concerted efforts in combatting illicit financial flows.   

Mr. Vice President, 

13.    In conclusion, I want to unequivocally state that Nigeria will continue to support the Global Action for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, especially in critical areas of Poverty Eradication, Zero Hunger, Quality Education and Climate Change. Nigeria will, also, continue to promote and effectively defend the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and all others within our borders. 

14.    I thank you.