Nigeria’s ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Rights of Older persons is another remarkable milestone towards equality in older age, a UN expert said today.
On 23 October 2023, Nigerian President Ahmed Tinubu approved the ratification, after the former Government signed the Protocol in February 2020.
“By becoming the 13th state to ratify the Protocol in the African region, Nigeria reiterated its recent and solid commitments to guaranteeing and safeguarding the human rights of older persons,” said Claudia Mahler, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. “This ratification sends a hopeful and positive message to all older persons in the country, that their rights are valued and will be prioritised.”
“During my visit in September 2022, I witnessed the resilience and relentless efforts to advocate for such ratification from key stakeholders including the National Senior Citizens Centre and the National Human Rights Commission, along with civil society and older persons to advance the human rights of all older persons in their full diversity,” Mahler said. “This is also their victory.”
“As recommended in my recent visit report and in accordance with Article 2 of the Protocol, Nigeria should then fully incorporate these regional standards into legislation and policy, to lead its actions at federal and state levels,” the expert said. “The bill on older persons (rights and privileges) would offer such comprehensive protection regime and has been awaiting assent since December 2021,” she said. “I call on Nigeria to ensure that appropriate resources be allocated to facilitate the implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on older persons at national level.”
The Protocol to the African Charter on older persons provides guidance to accelerate age appropriate and transformative changes to ensure a society respectful of older persons’ rights. It provides standards to combat age-based discrimination and ageism. As 15 ratifications are needed for the Protocol to come into force, the Independent Expert called on other African States to follow Nigeria’s example.
“Nigeria’s role at global and regional levels has been instrumental and I look forward to continuous dialogue and engagement with the Government, especially with regard to the implementation of the Protocol,” Mahler said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).