Saturday, 21 April 2012

Protection of Women’s Human Rights in Nigeria through International Instruments & the Constitution

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is perhaps the best known of the International Conventions relating to women’s rights but it is by no means the only International Law that holds promise for women’s human rights. Nigeria is a signatory to CEDAW as well as
to other Conventions which guarantee a wide range of rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These two conventions together with the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) collectively make up what is known as the International Bill of Human Rights.

Some human rights Conventions have Optional Protocols or further agreements, added to the main Conventions. These Protocols may increase the human rights protection covered by the Convention or set up additional means of enforcement and complaint procedure.

The legal act by which a country that has signed a Convention or Protocol agrees to be bound by its provisions is called ratification. This requires that the national legislative body passes a law agreeing to be bound by the Convention. If a country merely signs a Convention, it indicates that the country supports the purposes of the document but it is not legally committed to comply with the provisions until the country's legislature officially ratifies it.

Ratification does not, however, make the Convention legally binding until the legislature (Law making body) of that country has specifically made it part of the laws of the country.

Nigeria has signed and ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Nigeria is in the process of making CEDAW part of its local laws as CEDAW is being debated at the National Assembly the highest Legislative House for Nigeria.

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