Tuesday, 30 August 2016

ECOWAS to allocate adequate funds to human rights institutions

The President, Network of National Human Rights Institutions (NNHRI) in West Africa, Prof. Bem Angwe, on Monday called on ECOWAS Member States to allocate adequate funds to their Human Rights Institutions.

Angwe made the call at the opening of the Annual General Assembly of the Institution in Abuja.

Angwe, who is also the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, said it was only when these institutions were adequately funded that they could perform their functions.

Angwe also expressed concerns that of the 15 countries in West Africa, only six had international status at the moment.

According to him, only four of these countries had attained the "A" status making West Africa to score low in Human rights compliance parameter on a global scale.

On his part, the President, ECOWAS Commission, Mr Marcel Alain de Souza, said since the establishment of the network, ECOWAS Commission had collaborated with it to strengthen human rights issues in the region.

Alain de Souza, who was represented by Mr Eyasan Okorodudu, said the Commission had also devised several mechanisms of monitoring the human right situation in the region.

He further said: “We have taken time to ensure that this framework and reporting standard was well circulated among member institutions.

He also said the Commission had picked a day to observe as the ECOWAS Human Rights Day.

According to him, the date will be validated by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and Heads of States at their next meeting.

Mr Andrea Ori, the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for West Africa urged the network to pay more attention to rights issues in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ori said the UN was seeking to help national human rights institutions move towards greater integrity, legitimacy and effectiveness in spite of the social, political, economic and cultural factors affecting them.

Newsmen report that the NNHRI in West Africa was established for the protection and promotion of human rights in ECOWAS member states.