Civil Society Advocacy Legislative Centre (CISLAC), in collaboration with Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) called on the media to do more on advocacy and participation for the plPoC Policy and its Bill in the National Assembly, adding that the focueDraft Bill which aims at Civilian Harm Mitigation in Armed Conflict.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, in his address stated that the PoC Policy allows for an adequate accountability mechanism that pushes external agencies to regulate the use of discretionary powers, such as whether the use of force is applied in compliance with national and international law.
Rafsanjani said that Protection of Civilian is important because to be effective, security institutions must be politically accountable to the legitimate authorities of the state and to representatives of the people through external oversight.
He said, “Our believe is that good protection regime within the security sector is a key enabler for wider progress. Accountability in security and justice provision is related to protection from abuses, the ability for citizens to seek redress and hold providers accountable, and to the responsiveness and accessibility of provision itself.
Accountability helps build the confidence and legitimacy needed to overcome societal mistrust.
“In formulating national democratically-elected security policies and priorities, the protection of civilian and civilian harm mitigation is also very fundamental. That is the real essence of why we have gathered here today.
“Protection of civilian allows for an adequate accountability mechanism that pushes external agencies to regulate the use of discretionary powers, such as whether the use of force is applied in compliance with national and international law to ensure that the regime that promotes civilian protection is established.
“Protection within the security forces is key (to generating a coherent force with the will to face major security challenges and to being able to deal with breaches of conduct at the point of breach).
“Human security is the most prevalent within the global community.
He further stated that focusing on security alone comes at the expense of accountability that cannot keep up with new equipment, systems, and practices. To avoid the pitfalls of civilian harm, he said that there is an urgent need to adopt a policy regime that emphasizes on train and equip measures, adding that a thorough and joint assessment on capacity and integrity of forces can help manage any potential harm in any theatre of operations.
Also Speaking, CIVIC team lead Mujidang Sitdang, said that CIVIC has developed and implemented solutions to prevent, mitigate and respond to civilian harm and in advancement of the vision of a world in which no civilian is harmed in conflict. “In Nigeria, CIVIC has been working to promote these by engaging with key military institutions to influence their curriculum and reinforce the POC/CHM mindset. CIVIC has successfully trained over 2387 military personnel at training institutions and deployment centres, trained 663 deployed troops within Brigades in the North East, facilitated training of trainers for 93 military instructors, facilitated 19 meaningful dialogues and town hall meetings between the military, community militias, stakeholders and civilians that has further strengthened trust, coordination and led to an inclusive community driven protection of civilian`s strategies.
In addition, CIVIC has also trained communities in the northeast on the protection of civilians and empowered them to the point of establishing 6 functional community protection committees (CPCs), made up of three hundred (300) community members drawn from across host communities and camps that continue to facilitate appropriate engagement with key security agencies to advocate for their protection needs. CIVIC has also trained 603 community militias including vigilantes, CJTF & Hunters on ‘Protection of Civilians’ principles to provide them with the basic knowledge on understanding civilian centred protection.
“Above and beyond this, is the several advocacy engagements with the push for the adoption of a Protection of civilians’ policy and bill that CIVIC has been working on with many of you in this room as its advocates. When adopted, Nigeria will be the first country in Africa with such a policy that seeks to further safeguard its citizens from harm.
“Threats to civilians during conflict manifest in many forms. The concept of POC seeks to address the threats by mitigating harm, facilitating access to basic needs and contributing to establishing a safe and secure environment, Sitdang said
He further called on the media to explore mechanisms that will promote the adoption of the PoC policy and also engage in community education bringing to light the importance of civilian protection, “putting your full weight behind the drive towards the actualization of policies, laws and programs that will ensure a system where civilian protection is at its core.