NASIRU JAGABA WRITES FROM NOUAKCHOTT, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA AT THE ONGOING 62nd ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHT
I have the privilege of being an observer at the ongoing, 62nd ordinary session of African Commission on Human and People’s Right at Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The journey to Mauritania is so stressful changing up to 3 different flight because there is no direct flight from Abuja to Mauritania. The schedule of flights have given me opportunities to gather more learnings especially the two nations I switched flights Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal.
Before now, we have sent items to be included in the agenda to the Secretariat of the Commission as a prerequisite for being granted the permission to speak during the Sessions. Civil Societies and Activist have the honour to address the 62nd Ordinary session, the platform of the “Network for the Rights of Indigenous and Marginalized People in Nigeria” (NRIMP) is utilizing this opportunity to make necessary contributions on both National and Continental Issues concerning the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and also other critical declarations that could enrich the legislations of States especially the need to recognize and make legal the rights of indigenous people.
The proposal we have sent to the Secretariat to be included towards this are:
1. The call for African Commission on Human and people’s Rights to adopt and regionalized the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1998). The intent of this declaration is to protect the activities of human rights defenders around the world. It focuses on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups, and organ of society to promote and protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and fundamental Freedoms.
2.The call for African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to adopt, regionalized, and domesticate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Due to the past and ongoing violence and abuse of Indigenous individuals and peoples, the UN created this non-legally binding declaration as an aspiration for how Indigenous individuals and peoples should be treated. The Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues of development. It also “emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. “Prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples”, and it “promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development”. The goal of the Declaration is to encourage countries to work alongside indigenous peoples to solve global issues, like development, multicultural democracy and decentralization.
According to Article 31, there is a major emphasis that the indigenous peoples will be able to protect their cultural heritage and other aspects of their culture and tradition in order to preserve their heritage from over controlling nation-states. Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been left out in the racial wars that is fanned by climate change, rapid growth of desertification across the West African sub-region. At a time like this, the African continent need to take stock of the ethnic nationalities that are still surviving amidst high level of International (Cross-Border) Banditry, Terrorism that is sacking communities to a point that citizens are left with no choice than self defence. It is important for the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights sign, develop legal frameworks for the adoption of same in member States, this sophisticated and equitable machinery for the promotion of international peace and security. These rights are the solution of the ongoing barbarism of the “Fulani Terrorists and bandits”, actions of despotic and quasi-democratic disposition in the States where individuals are still stronger than institutions.
For the next 5 days and beyond this shall be an advocacy that I will be championing. Only little can be achieved without contributions from fellow citizens of African States, critical partners and stakeholders on development. We will realize this goals if our respective experiences learnings are part of the presentations I will make. I enjoy every enthusiast on these to reach out through my ever engaging social media handles especially Facebook and Twitter to make a common statement beyond NRIMP. We owe it to our collective conscience as Africans to ensure the survival of all races on the continent.