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UN Pledges Solidarity To Nigeria In Fight Against Human Rights Violations

Written by Maryam Rablu

May 31, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

The United Nations Human Rights Office in Nigeria has stressed the imperative for swift and complete implementation of all policy commitments pertaining to human rights.

The UN Senior Human Rights Adviser, Ms. Adwoa Kufuor, highlighted the necessity during the UN Dialogue on the ‘Role of Business in Promoting Human Rights in Nigeria’ at the UN House in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Kufuor stated, “The aim of the meeting is to discuss how to best support government and businesses who are intending to do business in Nigeria to make sure that business conduct and business behaviour are responsible and do not commit human right violations and where there are human rights violations or abuses, there are also remedies for victims.


“The National Action Plan on business and human rights was adopted in 2023 by the last administration. So we are only in the beginning of rolling it out, bringing all the different ministries and agencies who work with the National Human Rights Commission. Today, we have the House of Representatives, the chairman on Commerce, and also the chairman on Human Rights with us.

“We understand it’s a whole-of-government approach and a whole-of-society approach; we need the Parliament, we need the whole Assembly, the House of Representatives, we also need businesses, civil society, trade unions, and labour unions. We need all of these actors to come together so we can ensure that businesses in their behaviour and the businesses act responsibly in Nigeria.”

Additionally, Dr. Vanessa Phala, the Country Representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Nigeria and the ECOWAS, stressed the need for inclusive efforts to address workplace issues.


“With the national action plan that we have for Nigeria, its implementation requires everybody to be on board, that all the key stakeholders are seated around the table to co-create some of the solutions and innovations that are required.


“From the ILO side, especially as we see the link between human and business rights, we do have a number of interventions around eliminating child labour in the supply chains, focusing mainly on the agriculture sector and the small-scale mining,” she said.


On her part, Ms. Elsie Attafuah, Resident Representative of the UNDP in Nigeria, remarked that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be difficult without considering the intersection between human rights, business, and women’s empowerment.


“The roles of women are instrumental to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is the biggest in the world with about 1.4 billion people.”


Meanwhile, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce, Hon. Ahmed Munir, pointed out that women were disproportionately affected by environmental and economic shocks and are often shortchanged as domestic staff.


“Issues of labour rights, underpay, unequal wages, increasing maternity leave with pay, instituting mandatory crèches in MDAs and companies with more than 50 employees, and women employers and so much more must be critically looked into.


“Having adopted the NAP, the next step is its implementation. The NAP is a clear indication of the government’s desired direction, however, without the requisite legal frameworks, implementation might not be realised,” the lawmaker stated.


Hon. Abiola Makinde, the chairman of the House Committee on Human Rights, reaffirmed the National Assembly’s commitment to implementing the National Action Plan and reviewing necessary business-related laws.


“The role of businesses in promoting human rights in Nigeria is multifaceted and integral to the development of a just and equitable society. The Nigerian government has developed a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, which operationalises the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This plan outlines specific roles and responsibilities for businesses, aiming to mitigate and redress business-related human rights violations,” Makinde stated.


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