By Taiye Agbaje
An international human rights organisation, Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF) France, has called for urgent action against torture.
The Head of Office, ASF France, Angela Uwandu, made the call on Wednesday during a ProCAT 2021 Stakeholders Roundtable on Human Rights Violations and Torture in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the organisation, also known as Lawyers Without Borders France, began operations in Nigeria in 2009 to promote and protect human rights in the country.
Uwandu urged stakeholders to reflect on the implementation of the United Nations (UN)’s Convention against Torture in Nigeria and to also called for the implementation of the Anti-Torture Act.
“It is important to address the trend of torture among security agencies in Nigeria.
“It has been on the front burner of various discussions.
“We have had the #EndSars Movement, but beyond that is the time to really reflect.
“It is time for the agencies to honour and also called for stronger internal accountability mechanism to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account by the institutions themselves but also are allowed to go through the criminal justice system; they are allowed to face prosecution in accordance with the Anti-Torture Act,” she said.
Uwandu said the group also called for support to victims of torture on the platform of ProCAT Project which is funded by the UN Voluntary Funds for Victims of Torture and the German Embassy in Nigeria.
She said the organisation was able to provide support to victims of torture through its free legal assistance programme in 2021.
“For 2021 alone, our target is to assist 70 victims of torture across five states in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kaduna, Imo, Edo and Enugu. These are the five states of the project,” she said.
She said the organisation was working with stakeholders, civil society organisations (CSOs) and media to address the issue of torture.
“We believe that today’s activity will lead to a better collaboration between the CSOs and security agencies to commit to ending torture,” Uwandu said.
NAN reports that various organisations, including the Nigerian Army, Navy, Department of State Services, police, National Human Rights Commission, Clean Foundation, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, among others, were represented at the meeting. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)