By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi in Buea
Within the framework of the “Human Rights 75 Initiative”, some 25 civil society actors in the NW and SW regions, media representatives, local opinion leaders and influencers have pledged to promote, protect human rights, reciprocate the community centered approach and use early warnings and early response as a prerequisite for peaceful and non-violent communities.
This was during a thematic round-table discussion organized by the United Nations Human Rights Office this Friday July 14 2023 in Buea wherein the participants generated important ideas and suggestions on the central role human rights plays in building resilient and peaceful societies and how they can synergize with the state and other global initiatives to promote, protect human rights as well as harness the peace-building initiative. They equally talked on the promotion of peaceful and just societies with a common narrative that peace, development and human rights are three faces of the same reality.
According to the Human Rights Officer at the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa, Kiven Fonyuy, the participants have come together to talk about how they can enhance local initiatives for peace building. “So many of the organizations present here today are in one way or the other involved in peace building initiatives in the North West or South West regions. As part of the celebration of 75 years of the Universal Deceleration of Human Rights, one of the things that CSO’s can do to improve initiatives for peace is by taking pledges/commitments towards improving human rights”.
“We have lots of human rights defenders here today who have explained to us the initiatives that they are taking to build peace, resilient and sustainable communities. We have also brought in our own perspective of peace building and a lot of what they are doing falls within this perspective and we think that working together, harnessing the local resources and building on the expertise that they have within could be instrumental to ensuring lasting peace in the regions”. Kiven Fonyuy continued.
Highlighting some of the gains in terms of human rights protection and promotion, Fonyuy Kiven added that the Center has done quite a lot and continues to do more. “We have committed CSO’s who are working towards building a community of rights holders who are informed and know how to claim their rights in a constructive manner. We also have CSO’s and media organizations that are able to speak out against violations and stand for those whose rights are violated or abused. We are in the middle of a crisis and why we talk about early warning and early response is because they are a continuous process and there can always be triggers of more violence. For us to avoid that a conflict escalates to unbearable proportions we have to ensure that early warning and early response becomes part and parcel of the response” he concluded.
The President for the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA), Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla talking to the press after the event stated that human rights are very important in every society. “This training was very important because it did not only build capacity among human rights defenders but best practices were learnt and synergy was built among CSO’s for the bigger picture. We’re going through a very difficult face in the life of our country so there is a need for civil society to be knowledgeable on issues of human rights protection and promotion”.
The “Human Rights 75 Initiative” launched by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk seeks to give meaning and concrete significance to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Deceleration of Human Rights. Supported by a human rights council resolution, the initiative equally aims to stimulate and generate commitments through the transformative pledges from states and other stakeholders, with a view to concrete positive changes for the future of human rights.