By Sola Ogundipe
Nigerians have been urged to rise up in defense of their human rights in the interest of peace and justice.
The Founder, Women Empowerment and Legal Aid, WELA, Mrs. FunmiFalana, who made the call in Lagos, admonished Nigerians to stand up for human rights for everyone, everywhere and at all times.
“We must stand up for equality, justice, and human dignity because it is vital to each and every one of us all – woman, man, and child,” said Falana, who spoke during a walk organised by WELA to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, IHRD.
“The need to end discrimination against women in Nigeria and close the existing gender gap also necessitated the birth of WELA to assist in efforts to stop the abuses against women and dismantle all the gender barriers that penalise women and girls in Nigeria.
“In times like this, we all must come together to educate ourselves and our youth in basic human rights. These rights were set forth by the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The purpose of the Human Rights walk is to unite all people in these rights and to make them a reality.
“You need to know your human rights because a population ignorant of its rights cannot demand or defend them. Yet, few in the world know even two or three of their 30 rights.
“The ideology underpinning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, is a simple yet, profound one which proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal with dignity and rights.
“We advocate for everyone to stand up for their rights and those of others. For this reason, WELA stands for equality and Justice through human right education”, Falana said.
A legal practitioner, Mrs. Amara Nwosu, an official of WELA advised that the Nigerian security agencies should always respect citizens’ rights and while professionally discharging their duties to Nigerians.
Nwosu said fundamental and deep-seated issues such as persistent gender-based violence and discrimination among others still exist in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Mrs. OlakitanBolu-Agbaje noted that Nigeria needs to direct policies toward ensuring suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, a reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and the welfare of the disabled is provided for all citizens.
Agbaje noted that in spite of the existence of these rights and despite making laws, Nigeria is yet to fully enforce the laws on human rights.
The Women Empowerment and Legal Aid were formed to contribute to the empowerment of women in Nigeria and to promote and protect women’s human rights through lobbying, advocacy, provision of legal aid, training, among other strategies.
International Human Rights Day is marked 10th of December to commemorate the day adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNDHR, to empower the world on human rights.
She said the Women Empowerment and Legal Aid was formed to contribute to the empowerment of women in Nigeria and to promote and protect women’s human rights through lobbying, advocacy, provision of legal aid, training, among other strategies.