Senate amends NHRC Act, creates rights fund in annual budget

Senate amends NHRC Act, creates rights fund in annual budget

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The Senate has passed a bill seeking to reposition the National Human Rights Commission by establishing a National Human Rights Fund in the annual budget of the Federal Government.

The Fund, when established, would be used particularly for interventions on sexual and gender-based violence as well as other human rights violations in the country.

The National Human Rights Commission Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2021, also seeks to repeal and enact the NHRC Act 2010 (as amended).

Passage of the bill was followed by the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, in his presentation, said the bill sought to “reposition and streamline the institutional framework of the Commission by strengthening its capacity to conduct investigations on human rights issues, as well as expand on the scope of the Commission’s operation, generally.”

Bamidele added, “The bill also makes specific provisions to provide for the National Human Rights Fund in the national budget as well as provide effective means of sustaining contribution to the Fund, whereby non-governmental organisations and multi-national corporations will make remittances to the account, accordingly.”

The lawmaker stated that establishment of the Human Rights Fund is in line with international practices regarding human rights institutions globally.

He stressed that the Fund would facilitate the seamless discharge of the statutory functions of the Commission in line with the Paris Principles.

“This is important in view of the rising spate of insecurity, sexual and gender-based violence and other unforeseen human rights violations in the country, which cannot be contemplated and adequately budgeted for, during consideration of annual budgets”, Bamidele said.

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