Category Archives: International Human Rights Day

On Human Rights Day Inmates at female prison in Lagos call for help

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UNIC Lagos Director, Mr. Ronald Kayanja addresses the inmates

hr dAY - GROUPInmates at the female prison in Kirikiri, Lagos, have called upon the justice system to expedite their cases to enable them benefit from their fundamental human rights. They made the call at an event to commemorate Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015, held in the Kirikiri Prison. The event was organised by UNIC Lagos and a group of NGOs. It also marked the culmination of activities of 16 days of activism to end violence against women.

In a statement read to the participants at the event by the Director UNIC Lagos Mr. Ronald Kayanja, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the current global challenges should remind us the fundamental freedoms which were the foundations for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He recounted the four basic freedoms as: freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

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Human Rights Day: Hope rises for ‘awaiting trial’ prison inmates in need of legal representation

The observance of the 2014 International Human Rights Day at the Ikoyi Prison facility by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, has provided hope for ‘Awaiting trial’ inmates who could not afford and did not have legal representation and therefore, languishing in prison custody.
Responding to inmates’ recount of challenges of long stay in prison custody due to lack of legal representation, a Chief Magistrate in the Lagos State Judiciary, Mrs Eniola Fabanwo, urged affected inmates to use the services of the Office of Public Defender (OPD) which has the responsibility to provide them with legal representation.

A physically challenged inmate recounts his ordeal.

A physically challenged inmate recounts his ordeal.


The Chief Magistrate also called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the justice sector to be more active on issues related to access to justice especially as concerned ‘Awaiting Trial’ prison inmates.
In a special message delivered by the Snr. Pub;lic Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Ms. Envera Selimovic on the occasion, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon, declared that ‘human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation’ He called on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year; and on people to hold their governments to account.HR Day - Envera speaks
Speaking earlier, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, represented by the Deputy Chief Registrar (Legal), Mr Emmanuel Ogundare, explained that the Lagos State Judiciary observed the sanctity of Human Rights principles and practice which he said was a daily procedure.
‘This year’s theme, ‘Human Rights 365’, he added, ‘aligned with the vision of the State Judiciary that observance of human rights should be an everyday affairs.’HR Day - High Table Seyi speaks
In his welcome address, the Deputy Controller of Prison, Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele, disclosed that over 80% of inmates at the Ikoyi Prison were those awaiting trials, many of whom have been in custody for years. He stressed the urgent need for the prison to be de-congested.
Chief Magistrate, Eniola Fabanwo responds to inmates' questions

Chief Magistrate, Eniola Fabanwo responds to inmates’ questions


Speaking on the theme, ‘Human Rights 365’, the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that it ‘encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day’, he noted that the theme ‘underescores the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to human rights,’ and that ‘human rights belong equally to each of us.’
Deputy Controller of Prisons, Ikoyi Prison, Emmanuel Bamidele addresses the audience

Deputy Controller of Prisons, Ikoyi Prison, Emmanuel Bamidele addresses the audience


The Director of the National Human Rights Commission, South West Zone, Mr Lucas Koyejo, reiterated the commitment of the Commission to monitor, report and protect human rights of all citizens.
The 2014 International Human Rights Day was organized by UNIC Lagos in collaboration with the Lagos State Judiciary, the Nigerian Prisons Service and the National Human Rights Commission.

Interpersonal violence leads cause of death among women – UNIC

The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, has emphasized that interpersonal violence is one of the leading causes of death for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. He said this while speaking on ‘Curbing gender violence – Role of the Nigeria Police’ at a programme organised by the West African Women Association (WAWA) in Lagos to mark this year’s International Human Rights Day.

National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, presents some UN publications to WAWA.

National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, presents some UN publications to WAWA.


Making reference to the report of the Secretary General entitled, ‘In-depth study on all forms of violence against women’, Soremekun noted that ‘half of all women who die a violent death do so at the hands of somebody they were in an intimate relationship with.’
Soremekun speaking at the occasion

Soremekun speaking at the occasion


In her welcome address, the focal person of WAWA, Chief (Mrs) Beatrice Ubeku, called on stakeholders on gender issues to join hands and make Nigeria free of violence against women and girls. She pointed out that ‘women and girls who experience violence suffer a range of health problems and their ability to participate in public life is diminished.’
Contributing, the Divisional Police Officer, Onikan Division, Joseph Aloefuna, drew attention to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that women between the ages of 15 to 45 were more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. He also stressed the issues of rape and other forms of violence.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Odumakin, charged all Nigerians to stand up against gender based violence. Gender based violence, she said, ‘is a hindrance to economic stability and growth through women’s lost productivity.’

Human Rights Day: UNIC Lagos donates copies of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 20 Years of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) to raise awareness

As part of its activities to observe the 2013 International Human Rights Day in Nigeria, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, on Monday, 9th December and Tuesday, 10th December, 2013, distributed a total of 200 copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 20 Years of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) on Human Rights to raise awareness about the Day and highlight the ‘20 Years of Working for Your Rights’.

The National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun (2nd left) with the support of The President of Campaign For Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin and the Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Okey Martin Ejidike presents copies of the UDHR and the 20 years of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights to the Controller of Ikoyi Prison, DCP E. O. Bamidele (2nd right)

The National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun (2nd left) with the support of The President of Campaign For Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin and the Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Okey Martin Ejidike presents copies of the UDHR and the 20 years of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights to the Deputy Controller of Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele (2nd right)


At the Ikoyi Prison, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, presented fifty copies each of the UDHR and the VDPA to the Prison authorities. Receiving the publications, the Deputy Controller of Prison, Ikoyi Prison, Lagos, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele, thanked the United Nations for the gesture and promised that the publications would be made accessible to all officers at the facility.
Mr Bamidele noted that the publications were such vital that they should be a daily companion of all members of the public.
National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, presents the UDHR and the 20 Years of VDPA publications at the office of the National Human Rights Commission, Lagos.

National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, presents the UDHR and the 20 Years of VDPA publications at the office of the National Human Rights Commission, Lagos.


At the South-West Zonal Office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Lagos, on Tuesday, 10 December, Soremekun distributed copies of the two publications to the staff of the Commission, the media and civil society organisations who have gathered for the Human Rights Day interactive forum. Receiving copies of the publication, the Acting Zonal Director of NHRC, Mr Ibe Obidigwe, acknowledged the contributions of UNIC to the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria. He noted that his commission would continue to partner with the United Nations to enthrone protection of human rights and fight its violation.
Speaking at the event, the National Information Officer disclosed that Human Rights remained the central core of all UN programmes, from planning to implementation. ‘The United Nations would continue to promote the sanctity of human rights in Nigeria and all over the world,’ he added.
In addition to the English language version of the UDHR, translated copies in Pidgin English, Igbo and Yoruba languages were also distributed.

UNIC Lagos takes Human Rights Day to Prison

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, once again, was at the fore front of United Nations observances on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th December to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, celebrated 10 December every year.
Against the backdrop of human rights issues in Nigerian Prisons, especially as related to inmates on awaiting trial and have spent more years in prison than the number of years they would have bagged if convicted, this year’s observance organized by UNIC, Lagos, in collaboration with the Lagos State Judiciary, was held at the Ikoyi Prison, Lagos on Monday, 9 December, 2013.

A group photograph of dignitaries and some inmates of Ikoyi Prison

A group photograph of dignitaries and some officers of Ikoyi Prison


On Tuesday, 10 December, the National Human Rights Commission, South-west Zone in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, organized a walk through the streets of Lagos and capped it with an interactive session with representatives of the media and the civil society.
The programme at the Prison which was attended by representatives of the Lagos State Judiciary, National Human Rights Commission, South-West Zone, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Prison authorities, Civil Society Organisations and the media, was revealing as inmates recounted their long wait for trial.
L-R: Human Rights Activist & President, Campaign For Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin; Deputy Controller of Prison, Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele; National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun (speaking); and the Chief Registrar, Lagos State Judiciary, Mrs Olamide Akinkugbe.

L-R: Human Rights Activist & President, Campaign For Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin; Deputy Controller of Prison, Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele; National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun (speaking); Chief Registrar, Lagos State Judiciary, Mrs Olamide Akinkugbe; and Deputy Chief Registrar, Mrs Abiola Soladoye


In his message on the occasion, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, noted that ‘promoting human rights is one of the core purposes of the United Nations, and the Organization has pursued this mission since its founding.’ ‘Then, as now, the key to success,’ according to him, ‘is the political will of Member States. It is States, in the first instance, that are obliged to protect human rights and prevent violations at a national level, and to stand up when other States fail to live up to their commitments.’
The Secretary General, whose speech was read by the National Information Officer of UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, therefore, called on States to fulfil the promises they made at the Vienna Conference; and reiterated the commitment of the UN Secretariat, funds and programmes to vigilance and courage in the face of human rights violations.
A cross-section of participants

A cross-section of participants


Welcoming UNIC and partners to the venue, the Deputy Controller of Prisons, Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele, expressed his gratitude to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and the Lagos State Judiciary for bringing this year’s Human Rights Day to the Ikoyi prison. He disclosed that the prison authorities in Lagos state were very proactive and efficient; he added that there were no cases of Human Rights abuses in the facility.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Phillips, represented by the Chief Registrar of the Lagos State Juciciary, Mrs Olamide Akinkugbe, reiterated the commitment of the Chief Judge to prison decongestion and ensuring that inmates’ fundamental rights are respected always.
In her message, the President of Campaign For Democracy and the International Women of Courage Award winner, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, charged the inmates to remain positive as they still had a lot to contribute to the development of the society. She enjoined them to respect the fundamental rights of one another even after the completion of their terms.
L-R: National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun; Human Rights Activist & President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin and the representative of the Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Okey Martin Ejidike

L-R: National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun; Human Rights Activist & President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin and the representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Okey Martin Ejidike


Adding his voice at the event was the Representative of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Human Rights Adviser to the UN Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team in Nigeria, Mr Oke Martin Ejidike, who called on Nigerians to be rejuvenated in their commitment to the struggle for the promotion and protection of human rights.