The Director of a Nongovernmental Organization, Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Center, Ebonyi State, George Etamesor, has expressed concern over the rate of abuse of human rights in Ebonyi State, even as he pointed out that some of these abuses were coming from security personnel including the Ebubeagu security outfit.
Etamesor, who disclosed this on Friday during a Road walk/rally to commemorate this year’s International Human Rights Day in Abakaliki, noted that there is hope for improvement.
He maintained that it’s not only security agencies that participate in human rights abuses, adding that individuals, civilians abuse each other’s right on daily bases.
He said: “Against my rational mental judgement, I will say that the human rights abuse in Ebonyi State is very poor. But just like I always say, there is hope, we can always do better.
“But as it stands today, human rights abuses are very prevalent. First of all, as we know, it is not only security agencies that participate in this. It is even among us, each abusing the rights of the other.
“But the one that is now more prevalently disturbing today is that of this State Security Outfit, Ebubeagu. Theirs is just something else, probably because they are not trained.”
“Their human rights abuses are very rampant. In Ebonyi State respect for human rights is extremely poor”.
Speaking to Journalists, the Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Ebonyi State, Christopher Okorie, noted that apart from abuses by security agencies with State actors keeping mute, gender based violence, specifically against women was statistically prevalent in Ebonyi State in the forms of rape, spousal battery, wife abandonment, violation of girls, among others.
Adding: “These are getting out of hand, and we need to carry out this campaign to stem the tide”.
He encouraged all victims of human right abuses to report at the Commission’s office at the Federal Secretariat, Nnorom Street Abakaliki, for necessary action.
He told it partners to take the fight against human rights abuses beyond gender biases, to internalize respect for equality and the dignity of all persons.
Noting that the essence of the road walk and awareness creation was to emphasize the dignity of the human person, and by virtue of this dignity, all humans are one and equal.
He said that culture, religion and the distorted domestic/psychological feeling of male superiority has made women and girls most vulnerable to violence and abuses, adding that most domestic abuses against house helps, maids, step children and other domestic servants were championed by women on account of their self-perceived superiority over the victims.
He pointed out that all abuses has its root from the human philosophy of inequality between persons, irrespective of gender.
Okorie, called on Security agencies, politicians, the wealthy and all those in privileged positions to avoid using their positions to dehumanize others, insisting that all men were born equal, with equal dignity as humans.
“When we think that the difference confers inequality: you are a man, I am a woman; I have money, you don’t have money; I am a politician and you are not; a law enforcement agent and you are not, these differences make one feel superior to the other.
“Based on that, we should treat others the way we want to be treated; let not the man abuse the woman nor the woman abuse the man.”
In a statement, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, SAN, urged all Nigerians to promote and practice respect for human rights and equality beginning from every little corner one finds himself.
Speaking on this year’s theme: Equality – Reducing inequalities, Advancing Human Rights, Ojukwu, noted that it speaks to the very foundational principle of human rights which is “non discrimination” or equality of treatment of all human beings irrespective of circumstances of birth, age, colour, gender, religion, political opinion, among other differences.
He hinted that the theme also corresponds with the theme for this year’s 16 days of activism which is “Orange the world: End Violence against Women and girls now.”
He explained that the commission, in line with its mandate of ensuring respect for human rights, has established its offices in the 36 States of the federation.
The Commission has also been involved in the training of security agencies as well as providing platform for victims of human rights abuses to find redress.
“The 16 days of activism theme: Orange the world, ‘End Violence against Women and girls now’ equally compliments the advocacy for the protection of women and girls in particular against the backdrop that most of the violence have their roots in several discriminatory traditional and cultural practices in our societies.
“The focus of the Commissions advocacy to several stakeholders across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja where the Commission have presence, centers on the need to put in place the enabling environment devoid of discrimination, inequalities and violence to make the society a better place for all.”
The road walk/sensitization rally was organised by the National Human Rights Commission, with the participation of over 30 NGOs/CSOs operating in the State: Youthub- Africa CIRRDOC, VOFCA, NIWA, SUCDEV, CHAD; Nancy Oko Onya Foundation, Development and Integrity Intervention goals foundation, Gracefield Development Initiative of Nigeria, among others.
There were also representatives from concerned government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the media.