As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2020 World Humanitarian Day, WHD, the National Human Rights Commission in the country, NHRC, has called on government at all levels and other stakeholders not to compromise on the security of humanitarian workers who despite all adds, work round the clock to provide succor and
protection to people in need.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr.Tony Ojukwu, who stated this in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to commemorate the 2020 WHD celebrations emphasized the
need to adequately equip and support humanitarian workers in order to encourage them to discharge their difficult and challenging responsibilities to humanity.
According to a statement by the Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs, of the Commission, Fatima Agwai Mohammed, the WHD which is observed on 19th of August annually in honour of all aid and health workers killed or injured in the course of their duties, remains an auspicious occasion to reminisce over the efforts and sacrifices of humanists whether dead or living.
Mr. Ojukwu also noted the origin of WHD when, on the 19th August 2003, 22, people including the Chief Humanitarian Officer in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello were bombed at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad for which the UN General Assembly designated the Day to honour the victims and other
humanitarian workers around the world.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC shows concern over the rising level of insecurity across the world and Nigeria, coupled with the novel COVID-19 pandemic which effects virtually crippled world economy with high morbidity and mortality rate have made humanitarian work a more risky
and daunting task.
“In Nigeria alone, insurgency, kidnappings, ethnic clashes, armed banditry and Sexual Gender Based Violence, SGBV, have unfortunately thrown up a number of humanitarian issues which government and development partners are grappling to address” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tony Ojukwu commended the Nigerian government for creating the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and other interventions to address the plights of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, refugees, returnees, migrants which, if left unattended to, will snowball into further
violations of human rights in the country.
While commiserating with the families of humanitarian workers who lost their lives during the course of their work, the NHRC Boss used the opportunity to urge Nigerian institutions and organizations to always mainstream human rights in their daily activities in line with international best practices.
He added that the National Human Rights Commission is collaborating with the Ministry of Justice, Defence and other stakeholders to adopt a National Security Policy for the protection of civilians to improve the climate for humanitarian workers and displaced communities in the country.