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Internationally and nationally, the need for the promotion and protection of human rights is now not only recognized as the foundation of freedom and justice but as an integral and essential element for the preservation of peace not only within the confines of particular states, but universally. It is for this reason that human rights which include such rights as right to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair-hearing and freedom of thought, conscience and religion, have not only engaged the attention of the world community but have, “in the recent past, penetrated the international dialogue, become an active ingredient in interstate relations and has burst the sacred bounds of national sovereignty” (Jacob Abiodun, 2013).
Although Nigeria has been active in signing and ratifying international human rights treaties, it has been challenges when trying to implement these treaties domestically. Nigeria operates under a dualist system and cannot apply international treaties unless they are by the legislative houses of Nigeria. Furthermore, the Nigeria constitution protects civil and political rights, but international treaties like the Africa Charter also expand protection to cultural, socioeconomic, and group rights. Because the Nigeria constitution is supreme law, the Supreme Court of Nigeria often resolves conflicts in favor of the Constitution, therefore restricting the expansion of potential human rights (Egede and Edwin, 2007).
Just as the contemporary conception and contents of human rights have developed and grown over the years at the global level, Nigeria has made serious improvements in human rights under the constitution of 1999 though the American Human Rights Report of 2012 notes areas where significant improvement is needed, which include: abuses by Boko Haram, killings by governmental forces, lack of social equality, and issues with freedom of speech. The Human Rights watch’s 2015 World Report states that intensified violence by Boko Haram, restrictions of LGBT rights, and government corruption continue to undermine the status of Human Rights in Nigeria. Kidnapping for ransom and rituals are also alarming. Other forms of human rights abuse in Nigeria include motorists‟ harassment and extortion by security personnel, political assassinations, undemocratic imposition of candidates in leadership and intimidation of political opponents; rape, child abuse, education denial and domestic violence (Adetoro and Omiyefa, 2014).
Initially, Nigeria system operates on three methods of case submission. First method is the normal paper filling form for the complainant to fill all the necessary detail of the event, second method is sending the complaint through email with all the necessary requirement to the assigned body. The third method is lodging complaint in person to the commission. These cases were submitted, processed and resolved by an organization that fight for Human Right in Nigeria called National Human Right Commission (NHRC).
The NHRC personal lodge of compliant, the traditional system and mailing system with their efforts are still lacking as cases are not being resolved on time. Also each user must have email account before using the email method and also enchanter sending to wrong mail. Some people fear the scenario of not getting reply on time and how active are the body in checking their mail box. Submitted cases takes time after submission before reaching the assigned personnel that deal with such cases.
After looking through these challenges facing the NHRC’s reporting methods, this study looks to implement ICT system by develop an online portal that will be available for everyone to quickly report any form of human rights violation from different location across the country to the Commission. The cases will now be submitted online and have direct access of the NHRC cases resolved personnel to make a quick review and respond on each submitted cases. The means of using email and filling a paper form will not be terminated, but enhance the body’s effort by making it to digital system. The addition of evidence will also be implemented in the system as it is provided in other methods.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The process of reporting cases by the members of the common citizenry to the appropriate channels of the Office of the National Human Rights Commission faces a number of stumbling blocks. Chief among these is having to pass through an officer and transfer to the executive secretary which will now be forwarding the petition to the individuals appointed by the government to handle the petition depending on its type. This results in having a petition not treated until after several months. Another challenge is the location of the citizen that want to file the complaint, and how long it will take to send the complaint to the designated body since going there personally will be difficult. Some are not even aware of where to file their complaint to, for it to be resolved. Another problem in using the email method is the provision of the recipient email address to the public. People also fear the email might not be as legitimate as the paper filling form since they will just type all the details in the mail description box with the subject and not as straight forward as the paper form. Email also assign the numbers of files each user can upload at a time, of which will not allow the user to be able to complete the message in one mail.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this project work is to develop a Human Rights Violation System for case submissions to the Office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The following objectives combine to achieve the aim:
i. Analyze the existing methods of human rights violation reporting system by NHRC and highlight their problems.
ii. Develop an online human rights violation reporting system for case submission directly to the Commission.
iii. Examine the developed human rights violation reporting system and test its efficiency in comparison with the existing systems reviewed.
1.4 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this project encompasses the development of a web-based human right violation system that will assist the National Human Right Commission to improve their performance in protecting the human rights of the people in the country. The system will be developed based on the human rights violation acts implemented by the NHRC system.
This project work is limited to Nigerian citizens alone as the violation acts are those implemented by the Nigeria Constitution. As such, it cannot be used in other country. Surfing and searching for related works online makes it more tasking as the constrain and limitation on this project.
This research work is significant as it provides easy method of human right violation reporting and improve the effectiveness of the NHRC in fighting for the human rights protection in the country. The study will also be a supportive means to other existing methods and increase the rate at which cases are being attended to. This research work analyzes the shortcomings of the existing system and provides the efficient way to eradicate these problems. If this new system is rejected, then we will have to embrace the existing systems and continue to face their problems.
1.6 Definition of Terms
i. Human Rights: are basic entitlements bestowed upon each and every human being by virtue of birth. The underlying idea of such rights is to ensure that all men, women and children are treated with respect and dignity. For example, as human beings, it is our birthright that all of us should be given equal treatment and should not be discriminated on any account due to differences of religion, caste, class, color, gender or anything else either by the State or the community or for that matter the family.
ii. National Human Right Commission (NHRC): is an organization that was established by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Act, 1995, as amended by the NHRC Act, 2010, in line with the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly which enjoins all member States to establish national human rights institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Commission serves as an extra-judicial mechanism for the enhancement of the enjoyment of human rights. Its establishment is aimed at creating an enabling environment for the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights. It also provides avenues for public enlightenment, research and dialogue in order to raise awareness on human rights issues. The Commission is headed by the Executive Secretary who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). There are six departments in the administrative structure of the Commission namely: Admin, LID, Finance and Accounts, Public Affairs and Communications, Planning, Research and Statistics, and Monitoring and External Programmes. There are three Units under the Executive Secretary's Office, namely, the Council Secretariat, Audit and Public Interest Litigation Units. The Commission also has six zonal offices representing the six geo-political zones of the country, namely; North West Zone (Kano), North East Zone (Maiduguri), North Central (Jos), South West (Lagos), South East (Enugu) and South South (Port Harcourt).
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