(JollofNews) – The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has said that the implementation of human rights obligations is lagging.
In a statement issued as part of activities marking the World Human Rights Day, on December 10th, 2015, the MFWA said the world has come a long way in ensuring that basic human rights are guaranteed to all without regard to race, gender, religion, physical disability or any other distinction.
The statement cited treaties such as the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966; the ratification of other international human rights treaties on torture, enforced disappearances, racial discrimination, discrimination against women, children’s rights, rights of persons with disabilities, migrant workers; the creation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1993; and the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), as examples of giant strides made in advancing human rights and yet they are ignored by some developing countries.
According to the statement, most of the above mentioned treaties, though ratified and binding, often remain paper tigers and lack teeth. This, the press release added, is especially the case in developing countries and under autocratic regimes that are intolerant of divergent opinions.
The statement also stated that many such regimes exist, not just in Africa, but across the world; such as in Burma, Syria and the Gulf States, for example.
“Pervasive human rights problems also persist in Africa, as in Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and under West Africa’s King of Impunity in The Gambia. In the aforementioned countries, political freedoms are severely curtailed. Needless to say, freedom of expression is a precious commodity enjoyed by a privileged and powerful few in those parts of the world. Censorship, criminal libel and internet surveillance as well as threats and physical attacks are used to suppress criticism and thus harm the enjoyment of human rights more broadly. Restrictions on expression result in a frustrated population with limited opportunities for achieving decent, dignified and fulfilling lives. With such a suppressed human capital, social and economic progress is invariably hampered,” the statement indicated.
The MFWA also used the occasion to salute all individuals and organisations, especially journalists and the media, whose untiring efforts have kept human rights issues in constant focus at national, regional and international levels.