Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Nigeria
Represented by 22-member delegation headed by H.E. Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Nigeria page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Chile,  Cote D’Ivoire,  Malaysia.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Nigeria page on the UPR Extranet ) **

  • Since its first UPR, Nigeria has recorded significant developments in the field of human rights.  Nigeria amended the National Human Rights Commission Act in 2010 to grant the Commission operational and financial independence and to enhance its investigative and enforcement powers;
  • Nigeria acceded to several international human rights instruments between 2009 and 2013 including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;
  • The economic transformation blueprint “Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020” sought to guarantee the well-being and productivity of Nigerians, including the eradication of extreme poverty, enhancing access to quality healthcare, and provision of sustainable access to potable water and basic sanitation; 
  • In terms of judicial reform, an Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, currently before the National Assembly, intended to institutionalize the broad objective of the proposed National Prosecution Policy to engender a criminal justice system that was quick, smooth, fair, just and firm;
  • In response to terrorism and violent insurgencies, the Government adopted constitutional measures including the declaration of a state of emergency in the States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in northeast Nigeria where insurgents have their base and carry out their attacks;
  • The Government proscribed the terrorist groups Boko Haram and Jamâatu Ansâril Muslimîna fî Bilâdis Sûn and stipulated a 20-year jail term for anybody who aided or sponsored them in any manner whatsoever.  Law enforcement agencies have been instructed to observe human rights while countering acts of terror; 
  • In terms of discrimination based on sexual orientation, the overwhelming majority of Nigerians objected to same sex relationships based on their deep religious, cultural and moral orientation, which no country could successfully legislate. Such legislation would be a war against society; 
  • On gender equality, consistent with the State’s Affirmative Action for Women policy, the Government appointed 13 female ministers representing 33.3% of the total number of 42 and four female Special Advisers out of 18, representing 22%.  Moreover, the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill has passed a second reading in the National Assembly;
  • The death penalty still existed in Nigeria.  For the executions carried out in 2013, due process was followed in the trials and executions were carried out in accordance with the provisions of existing laws;
  • As to the rights of minorities, States have been created from time to time as part of efforts to give the different ethnic groups in the country more political control over their own affairs.  Furthermore, the Federal Character principle has been used to ensure that people from all parts of the country have a fair and equal chance when it came to the allocation of public good, social services and amenities;
  • The Government established the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons with a mandate to combat human trafficking that occurred within and across Nigerian borders;  
  • While Nigeria has not extended a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures, it has agreed to receive the Special Rapporteurs on the independence of judges and lawyers, on violence against women, on IDPs, on trafficking in persons and the Special Adviser on the prevention of genocide.

Participants

In total 94States participated in the dialogue:  36 HRC members and 58 observers  (Statements available on Nigeria page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The strengthening of human rights institutions and the reinforcement of the democratic system, through the accession to and ratification of UN human rights core instruments and treaties ; the reforms made in the justice sector; the strengthening of financial autonomy of the National Electoral Commission; and the brining-in line of the National Human Rights Commission with the Paris Principles
  • Nigeria’s economic development and efforts made to improve the socio-economic situations of citizens
  • Efforts made at promoting international security and peace in the Northeast regions
  • Efforts made in combating religious intolerance and attacks against religious minorities
  • Efforts made toward providing free education at primary level and progress made in achieving universal basic education.
  • The National Strategic Health Development Plan 2010-2015

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The end to the moratorium on the death penalty
  • The backlog in reports to UN Treaty bodies
  • The overall security challenges faced by the country, including the widespread reports of torture and extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances
  • Violence against women and children; the persistent practice of female genital mutilation and early marriages
  • Overcrowding in prisons
  • The proposed Same Sex Marriage Bill

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Nigeria.  These pertained to the following issues, among others:

  • To continue efforts towards gender equality and improving the status of women and girls, including the eradication of violence against women such as human trafficking, sexual and domestic violence, and maternal mortality.
  • To tackle the practice of child, early and forced marriage by clarifying the legal age for marriage. And to implement concrete measures to combat trafficking of children and child labour
  • Strengthening the provision of care and support to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly those orphaned
  • To reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty with a view towards completely abolishing it
  • Commitments to uphold Nigeria’s treaty obligations and to speed up its efforts to incorporate into national legislation the various instruments the Government had recently ratified and to bring its national legislation fully in line with the Rome Statutes
  • The repealing of all legislation that criminalizes persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity and amending the Same Sex Marriage Bill and prevent violence against them
  • Continue efforts towards improving the friendly coexistence of different ethnic groups. To fight racism, discrimination and religious intolerance such as violence against Christian and other minorities.
  • To extend a standing invitation to UN Human Rights mechanisms and follow-up on requests by Special Procedures mandate holders to visit the country
  • Improving prison conditions and strengthening the system of independent monitoring of all detention facilities, especially through allowing the national human rights commission an unhindered access to places of detention
  • Continue efforts to realise the right to education and universal primary education, including equal access to school to children of minority groups
  • To strengthen measures aimed at improving the internal security situation in the country, especially against terrorist groups, all while guaranteeing the protection of human rights and preventing extrajudicial executions and torture.
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women; the second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure, and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Nigeria is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 October 2013 after 3 pm.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

**For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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