Groups Charge UN Body To Put Pressure On FG To End Corruption
Ahead of the presentation by the Federal Government of the country’s human rights report under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in October, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have urged the Council to put pressure on the government to end corruption and impunity of perpetrators.
The call by the groups was made this week in Geneva as the government prepares to attend the 17th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in October.
In their updates to the Human Rights Council and ambassadors in Geneva, the groups expressed “serious concern that the government has so far failed and or neglected to implement its commitments and promises made during the 2009 UPR review.”
According to the groups, “During the 2009 UPR review, Nigeria committed to pursue its fight against corruption so that all its citizens can enjoy peace, health and security. Those recommendations were accepted by Nigeria. However our report concludes that these commitments have not been met.”
“Only a couple of days after the submission of our report in March 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan pardoned the convicted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Despite international protests the decision remained unchanged. The fight against corruption experienced another set-back.”
The groups also said that, “The Nigerian government is the chief custodian of Nigerian resources. It has the prerogative and the unique opportunity to act for the benefit of its citizens. We urge the Council to appeal to the government of Nigeria to live up to its commitments.”
The groups also urged state delegations to press the federal government to:
- End official corruption and impunity of perpetrators, and take firm steps to hold public officials accountable
- Publicly commit to implementing the Constitutional framework to ensure that top state officials, including president, not only declare their assets but also cause such declaration to be published widely and regularly, to ensure access of every citizen
- The government should also establish anti-corruption trust fund to address the developmental needs of the victims of corruption in Nigeria
- Account for the spending of millions of dollars of recovered stolen money
- Publicly support and encourage the domestication of the UN Convention against Corruption
- Ensure full independence and impartiality of anticorruption commissions and agencies, and the judiciary, including judges, and allow access to court as part of the right to an effective remedy
- In addition to effective prosecution, prioritise the recovery of stolen money to show that corruption does not pay
- Ensure full transparency in aid flows, allocation, procurement and distribution process, and put in place a tracking system accessible to everyone.
- Economic, social and cultural rights should be made justiciable and entrenched in the Constitution
- Submit long overdue reports to U.N. human rights treaty bodies, in particular, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
It would be recalled that during the 2009 UPR, the Ivory Coast asked Nigeria to “Pursue its efforts in order to ensure an efficient work of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.” Also, Cuba urged the country to “combat corruption in order to ensure its economic growth to guarantee the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by all its citizens.” Turkey wanted “greater determination by the government to achieve progress in the fight against corruption.”
WEA is a network of churches in 129 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a world-wide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians
SERAP is a Nigerian based human rights and anti-corruption NGO.
The UPR is a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself.
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