By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Increasing partnership and collaboration by critical stakeholders to ensure minimum standards for documentation of mass atrocities in south east formed the crux of discussions during a 2-day programme organised by Alliances for Africa (AFA).
The programme, which took place in Enugu, brought together government institutions, civil society organisations and media from the five eastern states, Orient Daily reports.
Speaking during the event, a facilitator, Dr. Jude Ohanele, harped on the need to understand mass atrocities as a violation of human rights, while he listed genocide, crime against humanities, ethnic cleansing and war crimes as major components of mass atrocities.
He identified key stakeholders to engage where a mass atrocity occur, as well as other roles to be played in ensuring accountability. He urged participants to strategically leverage on existing platforms to ensure sustainable engagement to effectively document atrocities in south east.
He told participants to ensure equality, information symmetry, respect, tolerance, openness and trust as core components of collaboration, while carrying out activities.
In a presentation, the head of legal unit for AFA Barr. IhuomaChidire Anuonye, laid a background and overview of the project, working participants through the progress of the project; the outcomes and challenges on the project so far. She alleged that corruption among Nigeria leaders, especially in the South East, had led mass atrocities, while regretting that 85 per cent of CSOs in the region lack indepth knowledge on the fundamentals of human rights violations.
The legal head also called on the regional and international treaties that Nigeria is signatory to compel the Nigerian government to promote and prevent escalation of various forms of atrocities across the south east, who, according her, are enablers of the continuous perpetration of atrocities in the region.
Anuonye said the purpose of the project was to design and develop South East- Atrocities Documentation Framework (SE-ADF), as well as establish effective mechanism for documenting atrocities that occur in vulnerable communities in south east Nigeria, used for demanding accountability. She added that the project was gender specific as it targets women, which, by Article I of the Maputo protocol includes girls.
Earlier, the AFA south east programme coordinator, Blessing Duru, while declaring the event open, reminded participants the objectives of the project, and emphasised the importance to partner with stakeholders to attain the objectives of the project.
The south east coordinator, while commending the stakeholders, reminded the need to be committed to the project, which, she said, would help to bring justice to women and perpetrators to book.
The participants, in separate interviews, assured their commitments to the project, while they commended the organisers for such initiative.
They admitted that the programme was timely, while noting that mass atrocities also happen in the south east as against what people think.