Human Right being an area of law that cuts across several areas of law due to its basic and core values, is highly regulated both at the International level and Domestic levels. The need for this regulation at the International level, necessitated during the Post World War II. The rationale stemmed from the need to identify the individual rights and liberties which all governments should respect, and to establish mechanisms for both promoting States’ adherence to their human rights obligations and for addressing serious breaches. Some of these enactments and regulations include;
- Nigerian Legislations:
- Section 33- Right to life
- Section 34- Right to dignity of human person
- Section 35- Right to personal liberty
- Section 36- Right to fair hearing
- Section 37- Right to private and family life
- Section 38- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Section 39- Right to freedom of expression and the press
- Section 40- Right to peaceful assembly and association
- Section 41- Right to freedom of movement
- Section 42- Right to freedom from discrimination
- Section 43- Right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.
- Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, (FREP Rules 2009) which repealed the 1979 Rules.
- International Treaties:
In Nigeria, international agreements do not automatically have the force of law after ratification; there is a constitutional requirement for every international treaty to be domesticated before it can have the force of law.
Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) stipulates that:
“No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.”
As a result of this constitutional provision the figurative hands of justice have been held captive, as judges are usually reluctant to deliver decisions which directly conflict with the provisions of the constitution and would generally refrain from enforcing the provisions of international treaties which have not yet been domesticated.
In Abacha v Fawehinmi (2001) WRN vol. 51, pp. 165-166 the Nigerian Supreme Court held that:
“It is therefore manifest that no matter how beneficial to the country or the citizenry, an international treaty to which Nigeria has become a signatory may be, it remains unenforceable, if it is not enacted into the law of the country by the National Assembly.”
Some of these International treaties include:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers & Members of their Families (ICRMW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)
- United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
- Convention on the Rights of the Child