The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced Thursday a plan to give awards to the most human rights-supporting federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), state governments, and civil society organisations (CSOs).
Tony Ojukwu, the executive secretary of the commission, said this at a press conference in Abuja.
He said arrangements were being put in place for the winners to be announced at the third edition of the national human rights award which will be part of the activities marking this year’s December 10 Human Rights Day.
Since its inception in 2019, the national human rights awards has recognised icons credited with significant roles in the promotion and enjoyment of human rights in Nigeria.
State governments, civil society organisations as well as individuals have won in the previous editions of the awards.
Mr Ojukwu said the awards would be in three categories and members of the public are expected to select from list of nominations through voting.
The categories are: federal government agencies, state governments and civil society organisations.
He said indicators for assessment of the federal MDAs include: the impact of the MDA’s work in the enjoyment of human rights in Nigeria, their compliance to court judgments, and the degree of accessibility of their services to the public.
The rest, according to Mr Ojukwu, are the extent to which they comply with the five per cent employment ratio of persons with disability and the impact of their works or contributions in promoting social justice, eliminating discriminatory attitudes and practices.
The criteria for selecting deserving state governments, Mr Ojukwu said, are: their outstanding performance in the improvement of Education, Health, Housing, payment of workers’ salaries and prompt payment of gratuity and pension, Protection of vulnerable groups, protection of the rights of women, girls and children, especially sexual and gender based violence.
He added that CSOs would be selected on, among other criteria, based on their impact in improving the understanding and respect for human rights, the impact of their work in eliminating social injustices as well as discriminatory practices, the risk they face in carrying out its work, the amount of time and resources spent by them and the negative consequences faced by the. in the course of its work.
Mr Ojukwu said social media platforms would be used by experts to request members of the public to vote for deserving candidates.
Voting will commence on November 12, and will end on November 22 , he said
The voting, according to him, will be done online and the winners from the results will receive their awards on the 10th of December, 2021.
“We have dedicated a special web domain for public voting and the online process of voting is a demonstration of the commission’s commitment to public participation and transparency in the whole exercise. The domain address is www.nhrcawards.ng,” the NHRC boss added.
When asked why there was no award category for the media, Mr Ojukwu said the media houses could be nominated under the civil society category and would be recognised if any emerged the winner.
“We are concentrating on organisations and not individuals. In our meeting against next year’s edition we shall think of how to include a category for human rights defenders. This category will include journalists who have stood up for the rights of the public and suffer humiliations and inhuman treatments in the course”, Mr Ojukwu added.
When asked why embarking on giving awards despite the daunting human rights challenges in the country, Mr Ojukwu said whatever the situation, the few people and organisations working tirelessly to curb violations deserved the awards.
“We are doing this so that we can maintain a steady improvement and encourage individuals and organisations to do more,” he added.
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