Table Of Contents
1. The Role Of Individuals In Protecting Human Rights.
2. Group That Assist In Protecting human Rights Of Citizens.
The Role Of Individuals In Protecting Human Rights
Individuals or private citizens play variox roles in the protection of human rights. Such roles are;
1. Representing affected person in court:
Lawyers, Journalist and some public spirited individuals have taken up cases of human right violation or abuse to court. Gani fawehmi the late human right activist was known for this. Also, erudite lawyers, festus keyamo has taken up cases of abuse of citizens right to court. Well placed individuals especially human right lawyers, activist and public spirited persons have sponsores right lawyers, activists and public spirited persons have spnosored legal actions against human rights violations. There was the case against pfyzer, a pharmaceutical company for deaths resoulting from the consumption of one of its drugs.
2. Drawing attention to cases of human rights violation:
Journalists and social commentators have brought to public attention cases of human rights abuses. Newspaper editorials and commentararies draw public attention to cases and instances of human rights violation. Much was done in this regard to highlight the plight of families who lost their dear ones in the air crash involving military officers on national assignment during the regime of babangida in 1992. There was also the case NYSC members who lost their lives following the mayhem that greeted the declaration of the presidential election result in April 2011. The NYSC members involved served as INEC adhoe election workers protest matches are usually staged by concerned citizens against cases of human rights violation.
An example, Abia state women, in 2011, protested against rampant and incessant kidnaping of people in the state. Moslem women in jos, plateau state protested against the harassment and killings of innocent children in the state. The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) led several protests againts the plot to stop Goodluck Jonathan from succeding late umaru yardua in 2010. Save nigeria Group also led mass rallies and protest against the federal government in 2012, for deregulating the price of fuel amd increasing fuel price from#65.00 to #140.00.
There were cases against the then military government in Nigeria, for various acts of human rights violation. The NADECO (National Democretic Coalition) was a powerful voice against human rights violation during the regimes of babangida and Abacha. The NADECO took the government to court against human rights violations.
Groups That Assist In Protecting Human Rights Of citizens.
1. Civil Society organizations:
Civil society organizations are formed to protect and advance fundamental values of society especially fundamental human rights, democracy and good governance. They fight against arbitrariness, electoral malpractice, oppression and injustice especially by government. They promote press freedom and the liberty of citizens. When these fundamental right are violated, they fight through constituents methods lake peaceful demonstrations, protest match and legal action.
The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has campaigned for electoral reforms, free and fair elecctions, one man, one vote elections in nigeria. The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), fought for the restoration of democracy and the end of military rule in Nigeria. The women for change and development initiative has promoted gender causality and rights of women. Other examples of civil society organizations are civil liberty organization(CLO), Campaign for Democracy and Human Right (CDHR) and the Constitutional rights Protection (CEP)
2. Trade Unions:
Unlike the civil society organizations: trade unions primarily serve the interest and welfare of there members. They bargain for and promote improved conditions of service of workers. Trade unions protect the rights of workers and fight against any form of violation of the labour laws by employers.
Trade unions adopt constitutional method to press for workers demands. These include, warning strike, the nigeria labour congress in collaboration with and total strike to fight against the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy and hike in price of petrol carly in 2012. The ASUU also in 2011 embarked on university lectures. Examples of trade union congress (TUC) Nigeria Medical Associations (NUT) ASUU, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Nigeria Bar Association(NBA).
3. Student unions:
Student unions are primarily established to protect and the rights of student members. Such rights include, good and comfortable hostel accommodation, conducive learning environment and affordable school fees.
Students unions also moderate the interest and demands of students to conform with what the university authorities can afford. Students unions organize protests and demonstration against bad policies of government of university administration. Such protests can get out of hand and turn into riot, if the grievances of the protesting students are not promptly addressed. The protests by the students of the university of lagos in 2012 over the renaming of the University to Moshood Abiola University by the federal government is a good case of how students unions can fight for their right.
4. Ethnic Associations:
Ethnic associations promote and protect the interest and right of their members. Nigeria is a multi ethnic nation, (about 250 ethnic groups). The major ethnic associations in Nigeria are the Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Odua Peoples Congress, Ijaw National Congress, Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) etc.
Each ethnic association is concerned with how to better the lots of its members in the nation’s scheme of things. Ethnic associations play major roles in elections which have made politics in Nigeria an ethnic issue.
Some ethnic associations have become militant organisations agitating or fighting for separate autonomy and the control of the resources in their regions. Examples are MEND-Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, NDFF-Niger Delta Frontier Force.
5. Legal Aid Council:
The Legal Aid Council is a body lawyers which offers free legal services to citizens in need but cannot afford to pay for legal services. It represents such persons and provides legal services to them in the interest of justice. It is a way of furthering human rights because one of the tenets or principles of the rule of law is that the accused should have access to legal services which include the right to be represented by a lawyer in court.