Navi Pillay becomes first UN rights chief to visit Nigeria

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Navi Pillay

Widespread poverty and an increasingly brutal conflict in the north-east of Nigeria are just some of the daunting challenges the West African country is currently facing.

That's according to a statement released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay is on a four-day visit to Nigeria at the invitation of the Government.

She is the first High Commissioner to visit Nigeria in the 20 years the Office has been created.

In her remarks to the press, Ms. Pillay hailed the country's progress on the human rights front since its transition to democracy.

An Anti-Torture bill has been introduced in the National Assembly, and the "problematic" Police Force Order 237, which gives police too much latitude to resort to lethal force, is being reviewed, she said.

Ms. Pillay also noted the "significant" commitment by Nigeria's National Security Advisor to facilitate access to the affected areas for humanitarian agencies and human rights monitors in the north-east of the country.

The actions of Boko Haram have grown increasingly monstrous, she acknowledged, but warned the Government about the ongoing excesses by security forces against civilians.

Regarding the protection of vulnerable groups like the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, the High Commissioner deplored the fact that they "lived in fear".

She said the law against same-sex marriage was not only illegal, but that it violated international law in that it was discriminatory and impinged on all the basic freedoms.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’33″

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