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Human rights lawyers, CSOs seek amendments in VAPP, anti-torture acts

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Cross section of participants at the workshop

…Draft rules that guide its implementation

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), human rights lawyers and relevant stakeholders have called for an amendment and implementation of the anti-torture act and Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) to ensure that suspects or victims are treated humanly.

This was the thrust at a two-day capacity building workshop organised by Access to Justice, attended by members of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Human Rights Commission, Office of the Public Defender, Civil society representatives, media practitioners, FIDA, which seeks to also draft rules that guide the implementation of these acts.

Project Director Access to Justice, Deji Ajare stressed that the workshop was necessary to enlighten stakeholders on how they can access justice for victims and ensure that fairness is meted even though the justice system has become oppressive especially as pro-bono services have become difficult.

Nathaniel Ngwu of the Criminal Justice Network, while delivering a session on implementing rules and regulations of the anti-torture act 2017, which is relevant for victims to access justice, said sections of the act including right to complain (section 5), right to examination (section 7) do not reflect what is obtainable in the Nigerian justice system.

He stressed that lawyers too have become victims of brutality from the police, hence the question of value of human life in Nigeria. Participants however reviewed some of the sections of the act, which reflected extreme use of words that allows the police engage in brutal inhumane activities in a bid to secure confessions.

Hence, stakeholders seek that the existence of these laws be taught in schools to give a fresh start with the new generation as the minds of the old has been polluted, while awareness should be created to educate the masses on their rights as well as the damage Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) cause when they torture people.

While facilitating the session on review of the domestic violence act of Lagos state, founder Visionspring Initiative, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba said women are more prone to domestic violence either physically, sexually, emotionally or psychologically.

She explained that tradition also plays a role in blaming and further condemning the victim for speaking up or approaching authorities who also turn their back too on such victims.

Consequently, the stakeholders called for a monitoring body for the enforcement of the Act and to effectively partner with all groups currently tackling domestic violence such as Mirabel centre, Office of the Public Defender, NBA, FIDA, Ministry of Justice and Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT).


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CSOsDeji AjareVAPP
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