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WORLD PEACE DAY: Stakeholders Call For National Policy On Protection Of Civilian Harm Mitigation In Armed Conflict

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) with the support from European Union (EU) has advocated for National Policy on Protection of Civilian and Civilian Harm Mitigation Armed Conflict
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) who made the call Monday in Abuja during a Media Parley on Rethinking and Canvassing for the policy noted that, having this policy on place will go a long way interms of reducing the extends of human rights abuses, ensuring that it compliments the Constitutional provision of protecting lives and properties of Nigerians.

“It will also help to guarantee the freedom of expression, it will also help freedom of movement, it will also help to segregate those who are carrying arms against Nigerian people and the State so that by the time there is Operation or action those who are involved in constitutional means of agitation will be separated from those who are engaging in legitimate and constitutional rights that they have to express their concerned”. He said.
“Again it will also help to mitigate consiquencies  of the damage as a result of attacks by the security agency of destruction of communities as a result of Operation by the security security’s bomb drops and kill them and these goes without compensation, their houses destroyed without rehabilitating it but with this policy, it will also ensures that there is a proper enforcement of guildlines of Operation for security personnel so that they mitigate and minimize damages while carrying out their their Operations because the descretionally powers that they have to use any form of weapons sometimes it goes to the human errors so we want to see  with this policy at least substantial majority of Nigerians who are not violent are protected like the way the Constitution says so it is going to go a long way interms of action plan and prevention, conciousness implicate  in security personnel that they need to do this in a manner that will not harm the civilian especially those who are not involved in any violence or threat to the people”.He explained.
On his part, the Communication and Advocacy Officer of Center for Civilians in conflict, Julius Nazamu Gaiya, while Canvassing for media support on the National Policy on Civilian protection and Civilian Harm Mitigation, he explained that 

“CIVIC and CISLAC have so far worked closely with most of you in this room on the journey towards adopting a policy on the Protection of Civilians. Driven by a passion to save and protect civilians through engagement with relevant armed actors, CIVIC has developed and implemented solutions to prevent, mitigate and respond to civilian harm and in advancement of the vision of a world in which no civilian is harmed in conflict.”.
“In Nigeria, CIVIC have been working to promote these by engaging with key military institutions to influence their curriculum and reinforce the POC/CHM mindset. 

CIVIC has successfully trained over 2387 military personnel at training institutions and deployment centres, trained 663 deployed troops within Brigades in the NE, facilitated training of trainers for 93 military instructors, facilitated 19 meaningful dialogues and town hall meetings between the military, community militias, stakeholders and civilians that has further strengthened trust, coordination and led to an inclusive community driven protection of civilian`s strategies” He said.

According to him, CIVIC has also trained communities in the northeast on the protection of civilian`s and empowered them to the point of establishing 6 functional community protection committees (CPCs), made up of three hundred (300) community members drawn from across host communities and camps that continue to facilitate appropriate engagement with key security agencies to advocate for their protection needs. 

“CIVIC has also trained 603 community militias including vigilantes, CJTF & Hunters on Protection of civilian`s principles to provide them with the basic knowledge on understanding civilian centred protection. 

Above and beyond this, is the several advocacy engagements with the push for the adoption of a Protection of civilians’ policy and bill that CIVIC has been working on with many of you in this room as its advocates. 
When adopted, Nigeria will be the first country in Africa with such a policy that seeks to further safeguard its citizens from harm”. 
“Threats to civilians during conflict manifest in many forms. The concept of POC seeks to address the threats by mitigating harm, facilitating access to basic needs and contributing to establishing a safe and secure environment”.He noted.

“Our ask of you:As media partners and custodians of a very strong aadvocacy instrument, CIVIC urges you to explore mechanisms that will promote the adoption of the PoC policy and also engage in community education bringing to light the importance of civilian protection, putting your full weight behind the drive towards the actualization of policies, laws and programs that will ensure a system where civilian protection is at its core.Continue to recognize and report efforts by security agencies and government that have sucessfully protected civilians.

As we go on this campaign and explore ways of Canvassing for a National Policy on Protection of Civilians and Civilian Harm Mitigation, it is my firm belief that we will indeed work closely and better towards achieving our collective aim”. 
Also speaking, the Program Manager of CISLAC, Salaudeen Hoshim said that it is important that the public should also be briefed on what actually occurred as some of these instances have happened in various theatre of Operations.
According to him, “we noticed that there are gaps needed to be amended so that is why these policies becomes very fundamental because this policy is actually the holy gray that can help to support the needed return to normalcy in the country”.
“And we feel that now that the President is going to speak in UNGA that this particular policy becomes like the very big opportunity that will raise global attention for the world to Nigeria, Look the current political structure is particularly interested when it comes to the issue of protection”.He said.

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