Editing Office - Nigeria
It is an inviolate and indisputable sine qua non of Human Rights protection that the safety, welfare and justice for the people must be considered supreme, but the situations where violations of rights of human beings that the military personnel are alleged with can sometimes be in the process of performing their duties. In a review of the functions of troops while interacting with the military commands on memoranda submitted by members of the public to the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Africa Region HQ, H.E Dr. Tivlumun Innocent Ahure, Director/Ambassador of the IHRC Africa Region HQ quoted a Tibetan adage that “the goal will not be achieved if the right distance be not travelled”.
H.E Dr. Tivlumun Innocent Ahure, has been in separate sessions addressing the military apparatchik in the African Nations. Dr. Ahure continue to state the disconnect between the duties and responsibilities of the military in relation with the human rights of the people who daily complain of the sheer brute force of the military in performing their duties.In his presentations, he maintains that the IHRC Africa Region HQ is spurred by certain revelations and shall set up a mechanism for massive sensitization and enlightenment of the masses on the solemn damages that the military may be constrained to cause in the discharge of their responsibilities. While the IHRC will continue to ensure that the fundamental human rights, as enshrined in the Constitutions, are protected and respected by the government in power, Dr. Ahure added that the citizens have to be well informed about the same rights of the soldiers fighting terrorism. He pinpointed a few stated here. It is unquestionable that all human beings are born equal and free in dignity and rights.
In the deliberations on human rights, the IHRC firmly notes how no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention.This means that the military cannot arrest unless ordered by the magistrate acting under Armed Forces Special Power laws as may be spelt out in the Constitutions or other statutes. But during aid to civil authorities while combating insurgents, culprit may have to be apprehended if there is a cordon and search operation for suspected terrorists. Furthermore the military while dealing with mob indulging in looting or arson etc., may bring in persons for investigations including persons threatening peace in an area or inciting the public against the Armed Forces. It is noteworthy that the laws confirm that no one shall be subject to prolonged and unlawful detention.The law actually wants that when the military apprehend any person, he or she should be handed over to the police and shall not be confined for the purpose of interrogation.
However, the Police and the Armed forces may be tempted to keep a person in confinement in the following situations: for interrogation, to prevent a dangerous insurgent from escaping and detention of persons for identification. While the public want everyone to exercise the right to life, liberty and security of persons as it is provided in the Constitutions, the Armed Forces may inadvertently cause death/injury to other persons in following situations: during crossfire between Armed Forces and insurgents in a crowded area, in self defence, due to any accidental firing, on being ordered to fire at mob for maintaining law and order, on check post and during cordon and search operations.The protection of human rights entails for everyone to have right to well being to himself and his family. It is very important that on humanitarian grounds medical help and care has to be provided to sick and the wounded of even an enemy as laid down in the Geneva Convention. But medical assistance is likely to be denied by the Armed forces under the following reasons: due to shortage of medicines and doctors, priority of looking after one’s owns sick and wounded rather than others There must be no interference to the rule that holds that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. But movement restrictions such as curfew may be imposed by the military without proper authority due to: the need to check movement of terrorist/insurgents during aid to civil authorities and other tactics in counterterrorism.