The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have both recommended for a more comprehensive approach to protecting migrants’ rights.
The NGOs made the request on Monday during the opening ceremony of a two-day training on human rights and migration conducted by the United Nations in Nigeria for staff of the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja.
The course, named “PROMIS—Protection of Migrants,” is intended to build West African states’ capacities, establish human rights-based responses to migrant smuggling, and combat rights breaches.
Mr. Tony Ojukwu (SAN), Executive Secretary of the NHRC, praised the PROMIS—Protection of Migrants—project as appropriate in attempts to address concerns connected to migrant rights breaches.
The training, according to Ojukwu, will give NHRC officials with an awareness of international human rights frameworks, treaties, and regional mechanisms pertinent to human rights at international borders.
According to him, the multiple thematic and sectoral interests that intersect in migration management have highlighted the importance of taking a human-rights-based strategy.
“In today’s world, migrants face dehumanising conditions, illegal arrests and prolonged detention, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and life-threatening conditions at sea and on land.”
“As we focus on irregular migration and smuggling across our borders, we must not lose sight of the fact that trafficking within Nigeria is becoming an epidemic.”
“As human rights advocates and frontline defenders, National Human Rights Centre staff are well-positioned legally and institutionally to address these current and emerging forms of human rights violations.”
“As migration is all-encompassing, I want to pledge that the training programme we are receiving today under the auspices of PROMIS and the OHCHR will be extended to all of our state offices in due course.”
“We will continue to collaborate with partners both inside and outside the government to strengthen policies and practises that affect the human rights of migrants and victims of trafficking and smuggling.”
Poverty, inequalities, wars, and human insecurity, according to the executive secretary, are important drivers for irregular migration, trafficking, and smuggling of migrants.
He stated that the NHRC Amendment Act of 2010 gave the commission broad powers to monitor human rights, investigate violations, engage in public interest litigation, undertake research, and provide guidelines and advisory.
Adwoa Kufuor-Owusu, Senior Human Rights Adviser, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), noted at the occasion that migration-related concerns had impacted the lives of countless individuals and communities.
She stated that, while migration has the potential to revolutionise society, economies, and individual lives, its obstacles can lead to breaches of migrants’ human rights if not properly managed and protected.
According to her, numerous legal and institutional frameworks have been built at the international, regional, and national levels to manage and safeguard vulnerabilities that may occur in the context of migration.
“We gather not only to gain a better understanding of these issues, but also to reaffirm our commitment to the core human rights principles of dignity, equality, and non-discrimination for all people everywhere, regardless of migratory status.”
“It is my sincere hope that you will take advantage of the two-day training to strengthen your capacity to apply various international and national human rights frameworks to migrants, particularly at international borders.”
“I also hope that the discussions in this training will allow for reflections on synergies between the NHRC and other stakeholders for effective migration promotion and protection in Nigeria,” she said.
She reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to working with the NHRC to support Nigeria and improve the promotion and protection of migrants’ rights, particularly those in vulnerable situations.
The training was organised as part of a cooperative endeavour between the UN Human Rights Office and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The training was attended by 25 NHRC officials from Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Sokoto, Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Katsina, Borno, and Taraba field offices.