NHRC’s boss urges ECOWAS members to promote human rights

Prof. Bem Angwe

Prof. Bem Angwe

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe has called on member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to commit more funds to the improvement of human rights institutions in their respective countries.

Angwe also called on the regional body to be vigilant and input human rights in their programmes.

The NHRC boss spoke at a one-day training programme of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa. The event was also organised to mark the 2016 Annual General Assembly of the regional human rights body.

Angwe, while addressing the guests at the event noted that of the 15 countries in West Africa, only six have international status at the global level. He decried the fact that basic rights such as freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of the press were routinely trampled upon.

“Prison conditions are dire with overcrowding, poor feeding and absence of rehabilitation facilities as key issues,”he noted.

Angwe further told  the delegates that although the challenge of ensuring that ECOWAS citizens enjoy human rights was daunting, it could be achieved.

Angwe who also doubled as the chairman of the regional body of the association, submitted that no country in West Africa was immuned against human rights violations.

He said: “The serial violation of the right to participate in government as required under Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right and the applicable ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, is a matter of serious concern.

“This puts democracy in danger and our collective aspirations in peril. When this happens, and it often happens in many countries in our region, peace and security become issues of regional concern,” he declared. ‎

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