Nigerian elected into UN rights committee

Peters Emuze, Nigeria’s candidate, has been elected to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

Emuze beat candidates from six other countries-Algeria, Sudan, Niger, Uganda, Cameroon and Mauritius-to clinch the first of the two seats for Africa during the election which held at the UN headquarters, New York.

Elected for a four-year term, Emuze would be representing the African continent on the panel from 2019 to 2022.

CESCR is the body of 18 independent experts that monitors countries’ compliance with the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights of citizens by its states parties.

The committee was established under UN economic and social council (ECOSOC) resolution 1985/17 of May 28, 1985, to carry out the monitoring functions assigned to the council.

Apart from signalling “prestige”, a member of the commission would also improve Nigeria’s future “diplomatic leverage”.

Cameroon withdrew at the last minute while Mauritius’ candidate defeated Algeria’s in a run-off to clinch the second seat for Africa.

Samson Itegboje, Nigeria’s ambassador to the UN, said it became impossible to get countries to step down for Nigeria, as all of them wanted to “go for broke”.

“The victory has raised our profile on the international stage,” Itegboje said.

“I don’t think there are many countries that can pull such outing, two months to the election.

“We can call it a miracle but it was a result of hard work, strategy and good relations.

“Also, we presented the best, as our candidate has got the required experience including being the former charge d’affaires at the permanent mission of Nigeria to the UN offices in Geneva.”

Emuze, a career diplomat for 33 years, rose to become a special grade director at the ministry of foreign affairs and served as head of mission at Nigeria’s permanent mission in Geneva.

Speaking with NAN after the election, Emuze pledged to ensure that Nigeria complies with its treaties on economic, social and cultural rights of the citizens.

“Nigeria long signed the treaty and that means Nigeria is ready to comply with various international human rights instruments as a responsible member of the international community,” Emuze said.

“It is also fulfilling one of its foreign policy options.

“Nigeria is also in tune with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter and the African Human Rights Charter.

“So, Nigeria cannot be aloof to these issues of human rights because they are contemporary, modern times.

“Nigeria has always believed in the covenants of the United Nations with regards to human rights.”