World refugees day: Ojukwu seeks more inclusiveness, nondiscrimination

As Nigeria joins the rest of the international community to celebrate the 2021 World Refugees Day, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is calling on the governments at all levels and other duty bearers to give more attention to Refugees, IDPs, Returnees, Migrants and other persons in vulnerable situations to pave the way for inclusiveness and nondiscrimination.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq. who made this call in Abuja over the weekend in commemoration of the 2021 WRD said that refugees and related human rights and humanitarian issues have escalated in recent times in Nigeria, thereby exposing the victims to the harsh economic realities and poverty amidst high morbidity and mortality in the country.

Citing UNHCR statistics of 3.2 million people presently displaced in Nigeria, the NHRC Scribe said that the the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, farmer/herders clashes, banditry, unknown gunmen and kidnappings across the nation have unfortunately worsened the humanitarian situation in Nigeria.

The Chief Human Rights Officer observed that this year’s theme of WRD, “Together we heal, learn and shine” serves as a reminder to the government and other stakeholders of the need for inclusive and non discriminatory strategies and to redouble efforts towards the protection and enforcement of the rights of refugees, IDPs, migrants, returnees and other persons in dare need of humanitarian support.

Towards this end, the Executive Secretary urged the relevant stakeholders including MDAs such as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA) etc to work more assiduously with the ICRC, IOM, and Civil Society Organisations to tackle issues around refugees, asylum seekers and other related humanitarian concerns in Nigeria.

Continuing, Ojukwu stated that as far as the relevant international Conventions like ICCPR and ICESCR etc are concerned, every human being irrespective of his/her citizenship or geographical boundaries is entitled to social protection in and outside the person’s country of origin, saying that respecting these Conventions is the only way to boost social protection and collectively reap the the fruits of inclusiveness and nondiscrimination.

He used the opportunity to inform Nigerians once more that the Commission with the collaboration of UNHCR and other Development Partners has progressively and successfully assisted thousands of refugees and IDPs and other categories of persons in need of social protection across the country to realize their rights.

In addition, he restated that the Commission had continually monitored the human rights situation of the IDPs in the North East as well as trained military personnel, the Police and other law enforcement personnel on mainstreaming human rights principles in their operations and in providing security to IDP camps. This has improved the human rights and humanitarian situation in the affected areas he added.

The WRD is celebrated globally on 20th of June every year to draw attention of government, development partners and stakeholders to the plight of Refugees and the need to redress their conditions.

Fatimah Agwai Mohammed,
Deputy Director Public Affairs.

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