Nigeria: National Human Rights Institution Important to Nation Building, Says Lawmaker

17 September 2021

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights. Hon. John Dyegh, has emphasised the importance of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in nation building.

He stated that they act as an effective bridge between the rights holders and duty bearers considering their constitutional and legislative mandate to promote and protect human rights within their respective jurisdictions.

The lawmaker, who stated this at the retreat of Governing Council and management of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), noted that NHRIs all over the world work with stakeholders, including the parliaments, to ensure effective human rights protection of citizens.

In his paper entitled: "National Human Rights Institutions/Parliament Relations', Dyegh said there should be constant cooperation between parliaments and NHRIs as it relates to international human rights mechanisms, while ensuring that International treaty bodies are provided with all relevant information about the state compliance with those obligations.

On parliaments and parliamentarians role in supporting the work of the NHRIs, the human rights expert stated that parliamentarians should have a sound knowledge of human rights and ensure that adequate resources and facilities are provided to a NHRI to enable it perform its functions effectively.

The legislator emphasised the need for the parliamentarians to scrutinise carefully any government proposals that might adversely affect the work of a NHRI or infringe on the enjoyment of human rights in the country and seek the view of the commission thereon.

According to Dyegh, "Annual report and other reports of NHRIs should be debated in parliament promptly and the government's response to the report should also be tabled in parliament without delay," stating that such practices will enable the relevant authorities to identify gaps in human rights protection and address them accordingly.

Lastly, he stated that it is the duty of the parliaments to translate international commitments into national policies and laws in fulfilment of state obligations and commitments to strengthen the rule of law as a UN member state.

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