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9,823 unlawfully killed in W/Africa in 2021 – Report

The 2021 Human Rights Report on West Africa was on Saturday launched, indicating that no fewer than 9,823 people were unlawfully killed last year. The…

The 2021 Human Rights Report on West Africa was on Saturday launched, indicating that no fewer than 9,823 people were unlawfully killed last year.

The report was unveiled by the Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) and the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) to commemorate World Human Rights Day, celebrated every December 10.

In the report presented virtually at the launch, it was also revealed that 6,414 people were arbitrarily arrested, 19,973 were tortured or injured, and 48,644 experienced gender-based violence.

On insecurity, the report ranked Nigeria, Niger and Benin Republic as the most unsafe places in terms of respect for human rights, adding that The Gambia is the opposite.

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The report highlights the human rights ranking table for compliance index, with Benin Republic leading, followed by Mali receiving the highest scores and Cape Verde receiving the lowest.

The executive director of the HURIDAC, Mr Ayodele Ameen, explained that the report focused on the human rights legal framework in West Africa in 2021, which, according to him, has seen a decline in human rights observance in most West African countries.

This, he blamed on “lack or absence of political will to implement ratified international and regional treaties like the United Nations, African Union and  ECOWAS treaties”.

Executive Director of ACDHRS, Hannah Forster, stated that “in 2021, human rights compliance is still a challenge. States struggle in complying to Concluding observation of UN treaties committees recommendations of the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights and various decisions of the ECOWAS court of Justice and the African Court’.

Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Hon. Remy Ngol Lumbu who spoke at the presentation event said the report would be useful for education, advocacy and evaluation of the state of human rights in the region, adding, “We will be using it as a reference point.”

According to him, the report also provided the much needed data for monitoring the implementation of various statutes on human rights.

Ngol added that the report also touched on issues of election, democracy and various issues of interest in human rights.

Also speaking, David Omozuafor of the United Nation Development Programme lauded the report, tasking all stakeholders not to disseminate the report but to address all the issues fueling the decline in human rights observance in the continent.

According to HURIDAC and ACDHRS, the success of a human rights-friendly environment is determined by a variety of international, continental, regional, and national organizations.

On the international level, these institutions include the United Nations and  the International Criminal Court (ICC); on the continental level, the African Union including  the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Commission on Rights and Welfare of the Child and The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court); on the regional level, the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS Court of Justice; and on the national level, the National Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.

HURIDAC/ACDHRS 2021 West African Human Rights report captures various segments of human rights index based on available data obtained from relevant sources and publications and presents the statistics in a data form for proper comprehension of the sub region scorecard on human rights observance and compliance.

The organizations frowned at the declining human rights observance space in West Africa compared to 2020 which has led to an increase in human rights abuses, domestic and gender-based violence abuses, insecurity, unlawful arrest, torture and killings, etc.