STAND UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
World Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10th December every year. The day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues.
Human Rights Day was first celebrated on the of 10th December 1938 when the General Assembly adopted the universal Declaration on Human Right (UDHR), the first global enunciation on human rights and one of the major achievements of the United Nations.
When the General Assembly adopted the Declaration with 48 states in favour and 8 abstentions, it was proclaimed as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations towards which individuals and societies should strive by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance. The measure was received by both advocators and critics alike as being more declarative than legislative, more suggestive than binding.
This year’s Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the universal Declaration of Human Rights document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political of other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948.
International human rights law lays down the obligation of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom of individuals or groups. One of the great achievements of the United Nations is the creation of a comprehensive body of human rights laws, a universal and internally protected code to which all nations can subscribe and all people aspire. The United Nation has defined a broad range of internationally accepted rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. It has also established mechanism to promote and protect these rights and assist States in carrying out their responsibilities.
The foundations of this body of laws are the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. Since then, the United Nation has gradually expanded human rights law to encompass specific standards for women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups, who now possess right that protect them from discrimination that had long been common in many Societies.
The Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nation General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 by General Resolution. Since its adoption in 1948 the UDHR has been translated into more than 501 languages; the most translated document in the World and has inspired the constitutions of many newly independent states and many new democracies including that of Nigeria.
The Universal Declaration of Human Right, together with the International Convention on Economic, social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol, form the so called International Bill of Human Rights.
Some of the Rights sought to be protected are:
Economic, social and cultural Rights:
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights entered into force in 1975, and had 164 states parties by the end of October 2016. The Human Rights that this component seeks to protect and promote; include:
- The right to work in just and favourable condition.
- The right to social protection, to an adequate standard of living and to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental well-being.
- The right to Education and the enjoyment of benefits of cultural freedom and Scientifics progress.
Civil and Political Rights:
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its first Optional Protocol entered into force in 1976 and the second optional Protocol was adopted in 1989. This covenant deals with such rights a freedom of thought, conscience and religion, equity before the law, the to a fair trial, freedom of opinion and expression; peaceful assembly, freedom of association etc. It prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life, cruel or degrading treatment or detention, arbitrary interference with privacy, war propaganda, discrimination and advocacy of racial or religious hatred.
A series of international human rights treats and other instrument adopted in 1948 have expanded the body of international human rights law. They include the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of Genocide (1948), the international convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), the convention on Rights of the Child (1989), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (2006)
These rights sought to be protected have found their way into Our Constitution. These Rights have been enshrined into Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). These rights include:
- Right to life-None shall be deprived intentional of his life
- Right to the dignity of the human person-none shall be subjected to torture, slavery or compulsory labour. Pursuant to this the Federal Government recently passed into law the Anti-Torture Act,2017.
- Right to personal liberty-none shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.
- Right to fair hearing- all shall be entitled to fair trial before a competent and independent body before a decision which affect him is taken.
- Right to privacy-freedom from interference to one’s personal life
- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion-none shall be forced to receive religious instructions or join any community except of his own free will.
- Right to freedom of expression-entitlement to hold and express opinions on issues without interference except in given circumstances
- Right to freedom of association and assembly- entitlement to freely form or belong to any association, body, meeting etc. as he wishes
- Right to freedom of movement-right to move from place to place without undue restrictions or molestation save as prescribed by the Constitution.
- Right to freedom from discrimination-fair treatment to all irrespective of sex, age, religion or political opinion amongst others.
- Right to acquire or own properties anywhere in Nigeria
- Right against compulsory acquisition of properties.
Coincidentally, these rights have been observed more in their disobedience than obedience in Nigeria.
Human Rights Day is therefore a day chosen to honour the United Nationals General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a day marked by International Humanist and Ethical union as an official day of humanists’ celebration. It involves campaigns and asking people to contribute a message about human rights. The focus is on all people to make their voices heard and be included in political decision making in relation to human rights. It involves learning about the rights and responsibilities that we all share as human beings. It also involves standing up for our rights. However, World Human Rights Day campaign has witnessed challenges inclusive of:
- Poverty and Global Inequalities
- Armed conflict and violence
- Democracy deficits
- Weak institutions and
- Challenges of implementation.
Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human right obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime. The other challenges facing the World Human Right Day celebration are prevalent in the Nigeria of today and all must rise to the occasion to eliminate these scourges or at best reduce them to the b arrest minimum. Human Rights Day (December 10th) is a day when the United Nation spreads awareness about the importance of protecting the basic right of the people all around the world.
ROLE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SEADOGS (PYRATES CONFRATERNITY)
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) – NAS/PC has always prided itself in its works for humanity. In fulfilment of our creeds of “acting over yap” and “For Humanistic ideals”, this day like every other day in the life the Association, is a good day to lift the banner of revitalization and give voice to the voiceless by speaking up for the oppressed and give hope to the hopeless and down trodden in the Society. As always, the NAS/PC shall #StandUp4HumanRights and be involved in advocacy campaigns, champion the course of the oppressed and under privileged. Through the Legal Assistance and Prison Rights Initiative (LAPRI) of the Association, NAS/PC shall ensure that human rights are not just guaranteed on paper but manifestly seen to be upheld anywhere and everywhere in Nigeria.
All hands on Deck as we mark the 70th Year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
|Dare Osinoiki, Esq.
NAS Balance Mates Committee
Hon. Misan Ukubeyinje, Esq.