SERAP Launches Report to Improve Judicial Recognition of Socio-Economic Rights in Nigeria
A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has launched a report to “improve better recognition of socio-economic rights issues by Nigerian courts and lawyers, as well as increase the enjoyment of the rights by millions of Nigerians living in poverty and misery.”
The report launched yesterday at SERAP’s office in Ikeja, Lagos documents comparative judicial decisions on economic and social rights and how these can assist victims of violations of the rights in Nigeria to obtain remedies and redress.
According to the organization, “Unfortunately the protection of socio-economic rights has not received equal attention as civil and political rights in Nigeria. However, SERAP believes that decisions of courts generally and Nigerian superior courts in particular on the domestic application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, among other treaties provide fresh opportunities for improving legal recognition and effective enjoyment of socio-economic rights by the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of the population.”
The report published in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, USA also highlights issues relating to poverty, corruption and how the courts can use socio-economic rights to address them, and to improve values of human life, liberty and livelihood.
According to SERAP’s Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni who presented the report to the media: “This report is going to be very useful to all Nigerians whose socio-economic rights have been violated and are seeking effective justice, remedies or redress either before our courts or regional courts.”
“The report will also stimulate the interest of anyone who wishes to have a better grasp of socio-economic norms and their application by the courts in Nigeria and elsewhere,” the organization added.
“This report is especially relevant at this time given the deteriorating socio-economic conditions of majority of Nigerians. Today, high level official corruption is widespread and pervasive. Millions of Nigerians face hunger and malnutrition; several millions of children of school age are out of school—on the street. Every day, thousands of Nigerian children die of preventable illnesses while tens of thousands of women a year die in pregnancy and childbirth. Several people living with HIV/AIDS are denied access to life-saving medication and treatment,” the organization also stated.
“Millions of Nigerians lack access to improved water sources and to improved sanitation. Judicial interpretation and legal enforcement of socio-economic rights can help to address these deplorable conditions,” the organization added.
The organization also said that “While the report analyses some judicial decisions and their implications for the legal protection of socio-economic rights in the country, a caveat must however be entered here: the judicial decisions contained in the report are by no means exhaustive, given the longstanding relegated nature of socio-economic rights in Nigerian legal system and their adjudication.”
SERAP Executive Director
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