Regionalism and the enforcement of human rights in Nigeria

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Kampala International University; College of Humanities and Social Science
Human rights as we have them today can be traced to the famous United Nations' document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948. All other human rights instruments and Bills of Rights are derived from this document including the two binding instruments, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 and the International Covenant on Cultural Economic and Social Rights (ICESR). There are regional systems of international human rights law that complement national and international human rights law by protecting and promoting human rights in specific areas of the world. There are three key regional human rights instruments: the European Convention on Human Rights; the Inter American Convention on Human Rights; and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. While the American and the European regimes have attained a substantial level of maturity, the African regime is still struggling to overcome the tyrannical tendencies of the various state regimes. The West African Sub-region have been an epicenter of violent armed conflicts with high degree of human rights abuses meted out on armless and defenseless civilian populations as well as cruel and tyrannical military regimes with no regard to human rights. Nigeria particularly have been under the military regimes for over three decades. Beside the military regimes, there has been a continued perpetuation of human rights violations even under the democratic era particularly by the police and other security personnel. The Economic Community of West African States ECOW AS under its Treaty stipulates that respect and promotion of human rights is one of its fundamental principles. Even though, Nigeria being a member of the international community and ECOW AS has an elaborate human rights enforcement mechanism and the ECOWAS also has a sub-regional or community court, incidences of human rights violations have not abated. This research has concluded that state sovereignty is one of the major obstacle to the ECOW AS' effort in achieving effective human rights enforcement within the sub region and Nigeria in particular. Other challenges bedeviling the ECOW AS' efforts are lack of enforcement mechanism, poverty and illiteracy among the citizens among others.
A thesis submitted to the College of Higher Degree and Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Award of a Master of Arts in International relations and Diplomatic Studies, Kampala International University, Kampala-Uganda
Regionalism and the enforcement, Human Rrights, Nigeria