PRESS RELEASE – HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2020: JUDICIAL PANELS SHOULD ENSURE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF SARS BRUTALITY
As the world marks the 2020 Human Rights Day today, December 10 with the theme “Recover Better–Stand Up for Human Rights”, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) calls on Judicial Panels of Enquiries set up by States to investigate alleged abuses and violations of citizens’ rights by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brutality following the ENDSARS protests to ensure justice for victims. The Judicial Panels of Enquiries currently set up in 29 out of the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory should also entertain and ensure justice for citizens whose rights were allegedly abused by the Police and other security operatives under the guise of enforcing corona virus disease (COVID-19) regulations, rules and executive orders across the country.
Nigeria as a member of the international system has joined the rest of the world to kick-start the process of recovering better from COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines now rolling out for citizens. As such, Advocacy Centre urges other states to embrace the recovery process while Governors of Yobe, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Zamfara, Borno and Jigawa (that as at last count were yet to set up their Panels of Enquiries) to “Stand Up for Human Rights”, set up Judicial Panels of Enquiries in their States where SARS had also operated to give the citizens opportunities to voice out their pains of alleged human rights violations by SARS as well as Police brutality.
Advocacy Centre recalls that as part of activities to mark 2019’s “16 Days of Activism”, we launched the “One Million Youth Volunteers Network of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters in the Niger Delta” on December 10, 2019. The fast growing human rights defense network has so far been thriving in the monitoring, documenting, reporting and seeking justice for victims of human rights abuses with the publication and presentation of report on human rights violations during COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns to the public and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
With the processes of recovering better from COVID-19 pandemic gathering more momentum across the country, Advocacy Centre and its volunteers’ network will continue standing up for human rights, support victims and hereby called on Judicial Panels of Enquires across Nigeria to ensure that victims of Police brutality get justice and perpetrators prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other human rights abusers.
FYNEFACE DUMNAMENE FYNEFACE,
Environmental justice activist, human rights defender and,
Executive Director, Advocacy Centre.