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April 23, 2024
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Dr Anthony Ojoukwu, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Commonwealth Day: NHRC, others harp on mutual support, collaboration for sustainable future

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By Edith Nwapi

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and other stakeholders have expressed their belief that mutual support and collaboration would help to foster sustainable future among Commonwealth member states.

The Executive Secretary, NHRC, Dr Anthony Ojukwu, SAN, said this at the 2024 Commonwealth Day commemoration in Abuja on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of March every year.

It is observed in 56 member states and by people all over the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe.

NAN reports further that the theme of this year’s event is ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth’.

According to Ojukwu, the theme highlights how the 56 member countries must harness their strengths by building resilience, unlocking potential, leveraging the ‘Commonwealth advantage’ and fostering a connected digital Commonwealth.

“This year’s commemoration creates a moment for reflection by members and citizens of the Commonwealth on the core values of peace, democracy and human rights, which are the foundation upon which this very unique institution is built.

“The commemoration also provides an opportunity to recommit ourselves to achieving these ideals and to advance cooperation towards achieving the goal of the Commonwealth – unity, peace, progress and prosperity of nations.

“The National Human Rights Commission identifies today with the ideals and purpose of the Commonwealth and joins all member states to celebrate the Commonwealth on this special occasion,” he said.

Ojukwu said that the Commonwealth had become a historic platform that promotes democracy, peace and human rights, as well as core values that deliver sustainable development and prosperity to all.

“The National Human Rights Commission shares in these values and believes that its mission to promote, protect and enforce human rights fits squarely into these principles.

“In many parts of the world today, we are faced with numerous social, political, economic and conflict related challenges which impacts on the attainment of the values which we celebrate today.

“From climate change, insecurity, undemocratic interferences to hunger, inequalities, conflicts of diverse classifications, among many others with attendant consequences on the enjoyment of human rights.”

He said in the midst of this gloomy picture, lies a bright hope that coming together as nations and peoples we can chart a course that can bring us to dialogue on ways we can improve upon our society .

Ojukwu, therefore, called for the creations of an environment that would advance the course and the wellbeing of humanity.

This, he said lies at the background of the unique opportunity presented by the event.

In his goodwill message, Commonwealth Chair-in-Office and President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said the theme was particularly relevant as member states navigate a world brimming with both challenges and opportunities.

Kagame, who was represented by Mr Vianney Rubagumya, 2nd Counsellor, Rwanda High Commission in Nigeria, said that the
upcoming CHOGM in Samoa, in October, was expected to solidify the strength of commonwealth.

“With 56 member states, a collective force of over 2.5 billion people, and a combined economic power exceeding $13 trillion, we are a significant force to reckon with in the world.

“The commonwealth has long championed democracy, sustainable development, peace and human rights. These very principles guided Rwanda when we assumed the chair-in-office role in 2022, a time marked by the lingering effects of the global pandemic.

“Let’s leverage the “commonwealth Advantage ” our shared values, history and language,” he said.

The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig – Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, represented by Mr Maxwell Isa, said youths are the catalysts for positive change and sustainable progress.

He said the Commonwealth Day provided the opportunity for fostering stronger economic, social and cultural co-operation among member nations.

According to Ahmed, it also advances the cherished principles of democracy and human rights that form the bedrock of our collective values.

“This year’s theme invites us to explore the immense opportunities available to us as we strive to harness our collective strengths and resources, fostering unity and prosperity for all.

“It beckons us to harness the immense potential of the diverse Commonwealth family, uniting our strengths and resources to promote unity and prosperity for all, while upholding the fundamental rights and dignity of every individual within our nations.

“As you are aware, the NYSC is an organisation dedicated to nurturing and empowering the youths. We are aware of the pivotal role that the younger generation play in shaping the future of our nation,” he said.

He therefore, pleaded with stakeholders to prioritise the empowerment and inclusion of youths in their collective endeavours.

The event saw the NYSC cultural troupe and Junior secondary school, Area 11, entertaining the guest with cultural dance.

There was also a poetry rendition by the students of Capital Science Academy. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Emmanuel Afonne

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