Cablegate: Usg Human Rights Strategy in Nigeria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 13790

1. With the unprecedented 2001 level of communal violence
and impending 2003 elections at all levels, in 2002 the U.S.
Mission operated several programs addressing the
institutional and legal shortcomings that lead to abuse of
human rights in Nigeria.

2. USAID implemented a wide range of programs focusing on
more open and accountable government and greater citizen
participation in governance: U.S.-based NGOs and local civil
society groups worked with state and national legislatures to
improve legislative processes and increase opportunities for
citizen input. Among the most notable results was a series
of state-level laws banning female genital mutilation and
other harmful traditional practices affecting women, as well
as a national law proscribing violence against women. A
judicial strengthening program provided training, equipment
and expertise to three pilot courts to move cases more
quickly through improved case management and case tracking,
with the goals of reducing massive backlogs that lead to
lengthy pre-trial detentions and restoring confidence in the
judicial system in order to reduce recourse to extra-judicial
options for redress of grievances. Extensive investment was
also made in training and technical assistance to improve the
capacity of election administration authorities to carry out
upcoming local and national elections, and to enhance
political parties, abilities to compete on issue-based
platforms, promote women,s participation and build better
communications with their grassroots affiliates. USAID
programs also worked with a wide range of civil society
organizations, including advocacy training for women's groups
and assistance for other groups to address the numerous
communal and religious conflicts that have continued to occur.

3. In addition, PAS, vigorous International Visitors,
Program, with input from several different sections within
the Mission, included representatives from NGOs, the host
government and civil society. The visitors participated in a
wide range of programs, including conflict resolution, NGO
management, empowerment of women, trafficking issues, and
Islam in America.

4. INL started a train-the-trainers program on police reform
in August, to improve the professionalism, responsibility and
performance of the Nigerian police force. A major portion of
the program focused on respect for human rights, covering
such topics as excessive use of force and extra-judicial

5. MPRI, a contractor mostly funded by USG FMF with GON
contributions, has for the last three years assisted the
Nigerian military to restructure itself to be more responsive
to civil control and respect for human rights. ODC sponsored
two expanded IMET seminars, by the Center for Civil Military
Relations, and the Defense Institute of International Legal
Studies. Both of these programs had time specifically
dedicated to the respect of human rights within a military
operation. All the IMET students who attended training in
the United States were exposed to rule of law and human
rights issues as a part of their training curriculum.
Reports of military extra-judicial killings of civilians
while performing policing roles in 2002 declined greatly from
the previous year.

7. The Mission,s political and economic sections regularly
met with local, state, and federal officials to discuss human
rights trends in policy-making and law enforcement,
particularly regarding respect for integrity of the person,
trafficking in persons, respect for civil liberties, refugees
and internally displaced persons. They also worked closely
with many civic and international NGOs on such issues as
worker rights, religious freedom, prison conditions, and
women, children's, and minorities' rights. The Embassy
funded Democracy and Human Rights Fund projects totaling
$60,000 on the issues of eradication of female genital
mutilation and reduction of corruption in the government.

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