Presentation on theme: "International Human Rights Law and Police Work"— Presentation transcript:
1International Human Rights Law and Police Work By Innocent Chukwuma Executive Director
2Overview of Presentation Duration: 60 minutesGoal:The aim of this session is to familiarize participants with thebroad overview of international human rights law and policerole in protecting them.Objectives:On completion of this session, participants will haveDeveloped the knowledge required to engage in discussion ofbasic concepts of human rights and the role of the police inprotecting them.
3Outline of Presentation Definition of Human RightsHistorical Overview of Human RightsInternational Human Rights StandardsHuman Rights in Nigerian LawHuman Rights Treaties Ratified By NigeriaEnforcement Mechanisms of Human RightsHuman Rights and Police WorkThank You!
4What Are Human Rights?Human Rights are the rights we are entitled to by the mere fact of being human beings and which cannot be taken away from us without reducing our humanity.Human Rights are universal and belong to every human being, rich, poor, male or female.Examples of Human Rights are the right to life, personal liberty, Dignity, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Association etc.
5Historical Overview of Human Rights The story of how the idea of human rights came about in history dates back to many centuries ago and every human society can legitimately claim to have contributed in one way or the other in the development of what we call human rights today, which in the past was called natural or divine rights.However, for the sake of our discussion, three institutions stand out in historical account of the modern concept of human rights:League of NationsCreated by the treaty of Versailles concluded at the Paris Conference of 1919 after the First World War to promote international cooperation, peace and security.The League was not able to Prevent the outbreak of Second World War andthe horrors around it.It had no mechanism for protecting individual rights because its subjects were basically member States
6Historical Overview of Human Rights Ctd. International Labour OrganizationEstablished under the Treaty of Versailles as an organ of the League of Nations to monitor and promote fair humane conditions of Labour for men, women and children.It survived its parent body and its currently one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.Since its Establishment, the ILO has promulgated about 180 conventions concerning forced and compulsory labour, Freedom of association and the right to organize, discrimination, and equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of Equal value, touch upon civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
7Historical Overview of Human Rights Cotd United NationsIt took the World War II and the horrors around it for the leaders of the free world to act decisively in the maintenance of international peace and security through the creation of the United Nations.The instrument of its creation (The UN Charter) came into force on October 24, 1945, the day which is celebrated as the UN’s Official birthday.The prime concern of the UN is international peace and security.A detailed description of the UN and its main bodies and functions can be found in books on international law. For our purpose here, we shall dwell on its work in the promotion and protection of international human rights standard.
8International Human Rights Standards Through the united Nations, the international community including Nigeria has engaged in extensive exercise of human rights standard setting in an attempt to create a legal framework for their effective promotion and protection.In general such standards have been set by developing multilateral treaties which create legally binding obligations upon member States.Parallel to this activity, the member states of the UN, has adopted numerous instruments referred to as “soft laws” for the promotion and protection of human rights.The “soft law” category are human rights instruments that can be understood at best as providing authoritative guidance on specific issues relating to human rights and freedoms.We shall focus on the most important human rights instruments of “soft” and “hard” categories.
9International Human Rights Standards Cotd International Human Rights Standards can be divided into three majorssections: International Bill of Rights, Core International Human RightsInstruments and Human Rights in the Administration of JusticeInternational Bill of RightsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, 1966Second Optional Protocol to the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1989
10International Human Rights Standard Cotd Core International Human Rights Instruments:There are 13 core international human rights Instruments. They are:International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ( )International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( )International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( )Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against WomenConvention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment ( )Convention on the Rights of the Child ( )International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families ( )Optional protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( )Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the Abolition of Death Penalty ( )Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against WomenOptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict ( )Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography ( )Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment ( )
11International Human Rights Standard Cotd Human Rights in the Administration of JusticeThe UN has adopted 20 human rights principles in the field of administrationof criminal justice. 11 of them are specifically relevant to law enforcementOfficials:Body of Principles for the protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or ImprisonmentUnited Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their LibertyDeclaration on the Protection of all Persons from being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentPrinciples on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentCode of Conduct for Law Enforcement OfficialsBasic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement OfficialsUnite Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile JusticeGuidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice SystemDeclaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of PowerPrinciples on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary ExecutionsDeclaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
12Human Rights in Nigerian Law Chapter four of the Nigerian Constitution 1999, known as the FundamentalRights Section of the Constitution has extensive provision on Human Rights.The highlights are:Right to life, S.33(1)Right to Dignity of Human Person, S.34(1)Right to Personal Liberty, S.35(1)Right to Fair Hearing, S.36(1)Right to Private Family Life, S.37Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, S. 38(1)Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association, S.40Right to Freedom of Movement, S. 41(1)Right to Freedom from Discrimination, S. 42(1)Right to Acquire and Own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria, S.43Similar and further provisions on human rights can be found in the African CharterIncorporation Act, which domesticated the provisions of the African on Human andPeoples Rights in Nigeria and the Evidence Act of 1960, which prohibits the use of torture ininterrogation.
13Human Rights Treaties Ratified By Nigeria Out of the 13 core international human rights treaties in force today, Nigeria has ratified 9. They are:International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ( )International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ( )International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( )Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women ( )Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment ( )Convention on the Rights of the Child ( )Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict ( )Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography ( )Those not ratified are the optional protocols, except those relating to the rights of the child
14Enforcement Mechanisms of Human Rights Treaty Monitoring BodiesThere are 6 major human rights treaties with monitoring bodies to ensure effectiveimplementation of treaty obligations by member states: ICCPR, CESR, CERD, CEDAW,CAT and CRC.Member states are obliged to send their periodic report on the implementation of theirtreaty obligations to the treaty monitoring bodies, which reviews such reports and makecomments on the performance of the reporting party. These comments, which aresometimes hash, help member states in living up to their obligations.NGOs are also permitted to submit alternative reports to those of member states,providing further information on areas state parties may no be forthcoming in givingaccurate information.These alternative report, sometimes called shadow reports, help a lot in providing additional information on the basis of which the treaty monitoring bodies make their concluding comments on state report.The treaty monitoring bodies also receive individual petitions from citizens of members states whose rights are violated. Their decisions on such petitions form an important enforcement mechanism on human rights violation.
15Enforcement Mechanisms of Human Rights Resolution 1503 adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council on May 27, 1970established the procedure for dealing with petitions relating to violations of human rightsand fundamental freedoms. This resolution empowers the UN sub-commission onPrevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to appoint a working group toconsider all petitions on human rights violation with a view to bringing to the notice ofthe Sub-Commission petitions which appear to reveal a consistent pattern of gross andreliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.Petitions that are found to reveal systematic violations of human rights in particularcountries are referred to the UN Commission on Human Rights for appropriate action,which may include adoption of a resolution openly condemning human rights situation insuch countries.
16Enforcement Mechanisms of Human Rights Special Procedure MechanismBecause of the delays inherent in the work of the treaty-based mechanisms in theenforcement of human rights, and the realization by the international community thatvictims of human rights need urgent response to their plight, the UN created a specialprocedure mechanism (also known as urgent procedure or non-treaty based mechanism)within its Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland to respond to urgent situationrequiring its intervention to save a victim from torture, extra-judicial killing, enforcementdisappearances etc.Under this mechanism, Special Rapportuers are appointed on specific human rightsthemes to respond to individual complaints on actual or potential human rights violationrequiring speedy intervention through urgent appeal letters to governments to preventthe action or protect such people.They also embark on missions to countries where many of such appeals for intervention are sentfrom to study what is happening their and make recommendations to the UN Commission on HumanRights During its annual sessions in Geneva on what should be done about those countries.The important point about the Special Procedure mechanism is that your country does not need to be a party to a particular human rights treaty for you to send petition to it.Many NGOs send petitions on human rights violations to the Special Procedure Mechanisms
17Human Rights and Police Work Are human rights an impediment or enhancer of police work?If an Impediment, Why?If an Enhancer, Why.The Fact Remains:International Human Rights Law is binding on all States and their agents, including law enforcement officials.Law Enforcement Officials are obliged to know, and to apply international human rights standards.If you don’t, the long arm of the law will catch up with you someday