ABUJA – The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has donated 300 mobile phones to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to facilitate the work of field monitors in protecting the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Ms Angele Dikongue-Atangana, Country Representative, UNHCR, Nigeria, presented the phones to Prof Bem Angwe, Executive Secretary, NHRC, in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said that the phones would be used to equip the 310 recently trained field monitors on IDP issues.
The representative said that the project was geared toward providing sustainable assistance to IDPs by protecting their needs and fundamental human rights.
She said the action would help in relaying their plights and sufferings from their communities directly to both commissions.
“The rationale behind the project is to ensure that there would be hands and eyes on the ground to monitor closely the conditions of those vulnerable persons, specifically the displaced ones.
“We have all heard allegations of some human rights breaches going on underground in the chaotic situations created by the insurgency.
“So, it is important that those who are knowledgeable of what it means to enjoy fundamental basic human rights take note of those breaches and report them.
“We also hope that by the same token, the monitoring would permit to pre-empt some occurrences of human rights violation and this is really the aim of the project,’’ Dikongue Atangana said.
The representative said UNHCR was committed to alleviating the sufferings of displaced persons across the country and that the step taken was just one of the ways of addressing their plights.
She said that UNHCR was partnering NHRC as it had always shown commitment to supporting the cause of human rights.
Dikongue-Atangana said that the 310 monitors, including four supervisors, would be deployed to 10 states that had been affected by both insurgency and communal clashes.
According to her, a person once displaced, irrespective of the cause, suffers the same breaches of rights, needs and inconveniences.
Earlier, Angwe commended UNHCR for its assistance for humanitarian needs and pledged its continued support and partnership to the present project and future collaborations.
He said the ceremony of the day was the realisation of the process aimed at putting in place techniques that would midwife the protection of persons, who had been displaced in Nigeria.
“Last month, we had cause to inform Nigeria and the entire international community that the office of UNHCR has demonstrated its commitment towards the protection of the vulnerable groups in Nigeria.
“This decision was followed by the provisions of funds by UNHCR for the recruitment and deployment of over 300 monitors.
“The monitors, after they were identified, were trained for six days to equip them with the knowledge of what their assignment in the days ahead would be.
“ That training has taken place and the monitors have been fully deployed to their stations of duty,’’ Angwa said.
He said that UNHCR did not end its commitment by just providing funds but had further more contributed to the establishment of a full infrastructure project office.
Also included is the Federal Capital Territory, where most of the displaced persons have taken refuge. (NAN)
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