Written Answers. - Human Rights Abuses.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

183 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the human rights abuses against women in Nigeria; the steps he has taken or will take to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8075/01]

The Government considers that the human rights situation in Nigeria generally has improved since President Obasanjo came to power in May 1999. However, the introduction of Islamic Sharia law in a number of states in northern Nigeria in the course of the year 2000 has exacerbated ethnic and religious tensions there.

Following the recent flogging of a 17 year old girl, Bariya Magazu, in Zamfara state, the European Union issued a statement condemning the flogging as a violation of international human rights, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Nigeria is a signatory, but also Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which state that "no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The statement welcomes the federal Government's efforts to ascertain that Nigerian law is in compliance with international human rights covenants.
Together with our EU partners and other members of the international community, the Government will continue to encourage the elected authorities to strengthen further the protection of human rights in Nigeria, including the human rights of women.
Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 177.