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Bureau Régional pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest

Regional Representative mission to Abuja

4 mars 2024
Regional Representative mission to Abuja©
On 19 – 23 February 2024, the Regional Representative, OHCHR-WARO, Mr. Robert Kotchani, undertook an official visit to Nigeria. He was accompanied by Ms. Ulrike Kahbila Mbuton, Human Rights Officer and Ms. Aminata Kebe, Human Rights Officer.

The visit was prompted by the need to forge a partnership between OHCHR-WARO and the ECOWAS Commission that would further enhance implementation of the PROMIS and PAPEV projects, particularly to advance the human rights of migrants and children in PROMIS and PAPEV focus countries within the ECOWAS zone. The objective of the mission was to strengthen the partnership between ECOWAS and OHCHR/WARO on human rights issues, in particular children’s rights and migration, to work in synergy for more effective action.

The regional representative held meetings with several agencies including UN Resident Coordinator, IOM, UNODC, UNICEF, UNFPA, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, ECOWAS, Embassy of the Netherlands, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), CSOs and the Media.
In discussion with ECOWAS, it was noted by the Regional Representative OHCHR-WARO that ECOWAS plays a pivotal role in migration due to its geographical location and proposed that ECOWAS further solidify its role as champions of the Global Compact on Migration. Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS confirmed that ECOWAS is already a champion of the Global Compact on Migration. Key points highlighted include inclusion of child mobility in early warning mechanism, protection of the rights of children on the move, strengthening the framework of the Banjul roadmap, OHCHR supporting ECOWAS on the reporting of the UNCRPD and ensuring the participation of ECOWAS at regional meetings on migration. “ECOWAS are already champions of the GCM”. This was reiterated by Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS during the meeting with the Regional Representative of the West Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-WARO).

In discussion with Chief Tony Ojukwu SAN, The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), he noted that migration can be investment driven to the advantage of the state. Key points highlighted during the discussions included capacity building for border officials on legal framework on migration and civic education for young people on migration.

Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) of Nigeria, acknowledged the support of PROMIS to NAPTIP but stressed the need to focus on Resue and Repatriation of Victims. She stated that ensuring that the operational work is as important as ensuring the existence of policies and framework on migration. She said that there is a need to ensure that funds are put in place to support the reintegration of survivors into the social mainstream including through income generating activities, to avoid repeat of their problems.

In discussions with CSOs, the noted that the PROMIS project should consider more capacity building activities for CSOs on human rights and migration, ensuring access to Justice for migrants including more training for lawyers for them to effectively handle migration cases, ensure more effective psychosocial support to victims, ensure migrants access to health and education and support to building and maintaining existing shelters for migrants.