By Fortune Abang
The European Union (EU) has pledged to support Nigeria through provision of basic services, to fulfill universal human rights obligations.
Amb. Ketil Karlsen, Head of EU delegation to Nigeria, made the pledge at the EU-Nigeria Human Rights Dialogue organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Karlsen, who addressed newsmen on the outcome of his dialogue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, and other stakeholders in human rights protection, said they met to review steps taken.
“It is the 5th meeting toward engagement with all parts of Nigeria to tackle human rights issues that affect our citizens and vulnerable members of the society.
“Already the EU believes in human rights as bedrock of external relations and certainly our relationship with Nigeria, we engage through dialogue and our development corporation programmes.
“In Nigeria, we have ongoing programmes for human rights issues and we have seen significant result in the past.
“This is in terms of establishment of 15 sexual assault referral centres having offender register, supporting correctional services, provision of aide for Nigerians that are stranded in Libya.
“As at this morning, we have provided support for 16, 102 returnees by providing them new opportunities.
“We discussed implication of insecurity in Northeast, estimated 7.7million people in need of humanitarian assistance and ways to ensure we come up with best human rights condition for victims of conflict,” he said.
He commended Federal Government’s plan to remove 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and promised to support its ambition in terms of estimated 14 million children out of school.
He mentioned provision of basic education and health for children to form the Union’s integral plan for the promotion of human rights in Nigeria.
Also speaking with newsmen, Onyeama said the EU-Nigeria dialogue had become important for government to uphold international standards of human practice.
He noted that government had put measures in place to preview human rights policies as way a forward to achieve target through collaboration with EU within framework of the African Union.
According to him, Nigeria is coming up with the pan-African peer-review mechanism and we are going to review it in the next meeting of African Heads State.
“There are various aspects of human rights here for us, it is bedrock for our democracy and we have regulatory and legal framework.
“We have done a lot of work by putting in place a robust legislation in the field of human rights and institutional building.
“We have instituted the human rights commission and non-governmental organisations to engage in the monitoring and tracking, respect and observances of human rights in the country.
“We are building human rights desks in the Ministry of Defence and other security agencies, to promote the culture of human rights in the various security agencies,” Onyeama said.
He said that the measure was to achieve government’s objective to ensure human rights are respected across Nigeria. (NAN)