NGOs Pillar Statement on the Steering Committee Visit to Nigeria from February, 11- 16.
The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is anchored on three pillars. That is the Government Pillar, The Corporate Pillar and the NGO pillar respectively.
As a multi-stakeholders initiative, the Voluntary Principles provide good sets of guidelines to companies in deploying security personnel to their facilities in ways that respects the rights of the communities in which they operate.
Within the broad framework of the initiative, among other things ,the NGO pillar is expected to facilitate confident building dialogue when allegations of VPs non-adherence occurs, help the government and the corporate pillars identify areas needing improvement related to the VPs, support the development and roll out tools to improve implementation as well encourage great participation in the implementation of the VPs.
Consistent with this expected mandate, the NGO pillar in Nigeria has worked singularly and collaboratively to advance and increase knowledge base in the country over the years.
The launch of the In-country implementation pilot group has further strengthen these efforts in bringing the pillars to a common room where they discuss security and human rights challenges creatively and collaboratively.
This is clear departure from the past where it was a blaming and name calling game. The message is now ‘knowing and showing’ rather ‘them against us’ or ‘we against them’ this changing narrative underscore the power of the voluntary Principles in promoting consultations and dialogues among stakeholders in the extractive and mining sector through joint-problem solving.
The visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria this week further reinforce the work the In-country Implementation Working Group has been doing, in bringing greater visibility to the VPs at a very high level of government. The visit also underscore the need to increase knowledge base through training, dialogues and consultative meetings on the VPs at the highest level of government as the knowledge gap was visible in most meetings with government officials. While it will be a great outcome for the country to sign-on to the VPs, greater emphasis need to be placed at implementation through knowledge-based advocacy.
NGOs also use the medium to call on law enforcement agencies to integrate the voluntary principles in their training programmes, mobilization and deployment of personnel to security duties in critical national assets in the oil, gas and mining sector as this will guarantee that rights of local communities will be respected. We also to encourage government agencies with responsibilities for registering, licensing and regulating private security firms to integrate great human rights observance as a precondition as this will go along in imbibing core human rights values and the culture of respecting the dignity of the human person in our psyche as a nation. This is needed to reverse the negative image associated with Nigeria in the Human Rights discuss.
(Nigeria members of the VPI)