ASF France press release on the occasion of the World Human Rights Day 2014

 Avocats Sans Frontières France/ Lawyers without borders france

Press release- Abuja December 10, 2014


ASF France press release on the occasion of the World Human Rights Day 2014

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY-THEME: “Human Rights 365”


“Human rights should not be subjected to personal interpretation. They are not privileges to be afforded by just a few.”-Anonymous


On today’s occasion of the world human rights day, Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France) calls on all Nigerians to remember the all encompassing nature of human rights and the freedom each right represents for us as individuals. As human rights organisations and individuals the world over commemorate this day, it is important to recall that human rights are universal and apply to all in spite of tribe, colour, creed or political affiliations.


The right to life preludes all other human rights hence ASF France’s concern with the exception to the right to life as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. Section 33 (1) states that, “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence at which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”


Nigeria remains one among the 58 countries in the world which still retains the death penalty. This is in spite of the fact that inconsistencies in the Nigerian criminal justice system cast a slur on the processes leading to death sentence convictions and underscores the irrevocability of executions. ASF France therefore calls on the Nigerian government to take a definitive first step towards joining the abolitionist movement by officially legalising a moratorium on the execution of death sentences in Nigeria.


In the same vein, ASF France calls on the Federal government of Nigeria to abide by the judgement of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice delivered on the 10th of June, 2014 in the case of Maimuna Abdulmumini. Maimuna has been on death row in Katsina prison since 2006 after being alleged to have killed her husband at the age of 13. The judgment in her case recognized that her rights under article 6 (5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) had been violated. The court also awarded damages in the sum of 5million naira. Prior to this, ASF France had already secured an injunction restraining the Nigerian government from executing her in February 2014.


Similarly, ASF France observes that justice continues to elude victims of torture in Nigeria because perpetrators are not held accountable for their crimes. ASF France therefore calls on the Nigerian Government to criminalize torture under its criminal laws.


As always ASF France is committed to ensuring that free legal aid is available to victims of human rights violations as well as the spread of basic human rights knowledge on the platform of its projects. The ProCAT project is designed to protect and enforce the rights of victims of torture while the Saving LIves (SALI) project works towards the abolition of the death sentence with a focus on enhancing access to justice for detainees on death row and prisoners at the risk of being sentenced to death.                                          


ASF France Head of Office – (+234) 0806 663 40 44