Nigeria makes a sharp departure from its stance as a defender of democracy and votes against a United Nations resolution supporting and protecting people who promote and defend human rights.
Samantha Powers, United States Ambassador to the United Nations made the details of the vote known to the world on micro-blogging website, Twitter.
“Terrible,” Powers said in her tweet. “Nations voting against UN resolution supporting and protecting people who bravely promote and defend human rights.”
Terrible. Nations voting agnst UN resolution supporting & protecting ppl who bravely promote & defend human rights: pic.twitter.com/4g29rBFOwt
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) November 25, 2015
The other countries that voted against the resolution include those with some of the most oppressive regimes in the world like North Korea, Syria, China, Burma, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iran.
African countries that voted against the bill are Sudan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, and Burundi.
According to an official United Nations press statement on the vote, the Nigerian representation to the United Nations explained why Nigeria voted against the resolution for the protection of human rights defenders. It said Nigeria said that “states had the primary responsibility to promote and protect its citizens’ human rights” and as a result there was “little or no need for the draft resolution to be before the Committee.”
One hundred and seventeen countries voted in favour of the resolution. Fourteen voted against it, while there were forty abstentions.
The UN Resolution states the following responsibilities for states:
- To protect, promote and implement all human rights;
- To ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction are able to enjoy all social, economic, political and other rights and freedoms in practice;
- To adopt such legislative, administrative and other steps as may be necessary to ensure effective implementation of rights and freedoms;
- To provide an effective remedy for persons who claim to have been victims of a human rights violation;
- To conduct prompt and impartial investigations of alleged violations of human rights;
- To take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of everyone against any violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the Declaration;
- To promote public understanding of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;
- To ensure and support the creation and development of independent national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, such as ombudsmen or human rights commissions;
- To promote and facilitate the teaching of human rights at all levels of formal education and professional training.