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Osinbajo inaugurates human rights panel for military

The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday inaugurated the presidential investigative panel to review compliance of Armed Forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement.

He said it is the responsibility of the Armed Forces and every one in government to ensure compliance with human rights norms and basic rules of decency observed across the world.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly stated that the administration’s focus is on three broad issues – security, economy and the fight against corruption.

He said: “The first security, is one without which others may prove impossible. In any event fundamental to the functions of the state, is the protection of lives and property and livelihood of citizens in peace or in conflict.

“For our government, we add that respect for the lives of Nigerian citizens is not just a constitutional but also a moral duty. This is why it is incumbent upon us even as we maintain security especially in conflict situations to interrogate, as we go along on a regular basis, alleged crimes and human rights abuses by all sides in these conflicts and insurgencies.

“Today’s occasion is in continuation of the efforts of this administration geared towards attaining this goal.

“You may recall that in June 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the military to conduct an internal inquiry into allegations of rights abuses by its personnel.”

He said the findings of the board of inquiries set up by the Nigerian Army to investigate extra-judicial killings and rights violation by soldiers, which was submitted in June 2017, would be made available to the new panel.

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The acting President said the report of the Inspector-General of Police’s investigation on alleged sexual abuse and exploitation in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the Northeast is being awaited.

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