Rights campaigners seek prosecution of violators at Community Court

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - West Africa’s human rights institutions have called for the prosecution of human rights violations at the Community Court of Justice.

They also urged member states to establish a mechanism for ensuring compliance with the decisions of the Court.

In the absence of a state institution to perform such a role, members of the Network of National Human rights Institutions (NNHRI) in West Africa should be saddled with the responsibility, the Network said after a two-day meeting and annual general assembly in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The meeting and assembly were called to agree on ways of increasing the capacity of members to respond to emerging human rights challenges in the region and reinforce the capacities of senior officials of its members in investigating, monitoring, documenting and reporting human rights violations.

It was also intended to help re-position the NNHRI and its Secretariat for more effectiveness in the protection and promotion of human rights in West Africa.

Participants agreed to activate regional judicial and financial structures to allow for an effective tackling of human rights-related atrocities, as well as accept an ECOWAS proposal to implement and support human rights programmes in collaboration with NNHRIs at the national level across the region.

In addition, they tasked the ECOWAS Commission to ensure that country reports of all human rights institutions are presented to the ECOWAS Parliament and Court of Justice, popularised and shared in member states.

In a four-point resolution released after the annual general assembly, participants specifically said the right to freedom of expression and the press be protected, and the security of journalists be assured in all member states.

They also urged member states to respect the rights of citizens to demonstrate or engage in strikes in line with the extant laws in their respective countries, and called on ECOWAS to ensure accountability for human rights violations arising from terrorism, whether perpetrated by terrorists or state security agents.
-0- PANA SEG 1May2013

01 may 2013 18:38:43

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