Nigeria reestablished itself as a democracy in May 1999 after decades of military rule and sectarian violence; however, despite some advances for Nigerian citizens, human rights abuses are rampant, and victims lack access to systems for rectifying these injustices. Twelve states have adopted a strict shar'ia morality code, which allows for amputation, flogging, and even stoning for certain crimes, such as adultery, theft, and homosexuality. Vigilante groups, or hisbah, regularly arrest residents for petty crimes and violations of the code and subject them to severe and inhumane punishment without due process under the law.
After a decade of work in southern Nigeria, Global Rights has recently expanded into the underserved northern states where we are strengthening the capacity of nascent NGOs and activists to address growing human rights violations and increase access to justice for the poor and marginalized, with a focus on women.
With competing legal paradigms in northern Nigeria—the constitution and common law, Shari’a, and the traditional courts administered by local emirs—understanding one’s legal rights and seeking redress in the courts is a particularly complex and difficult process. To help remedy this, Global Rights is working to introduce a tailored paralegal training and court accompaniment program to facilitate access to justice in northern Nigeria for poor and marginalized women seeking redress for legal problems.
Global Rights is also building the capacity of human rights activists throughout the country to monitor, report, and respond to human rights violations against LGBTI individuals and communities, as well as joining in local advocacy efforts by civil society to challenge discriminatory legislation or to mitigate its impacts. Our long-term, in-country presence and deep connections to civil society allow us to play a pivotal role in connecting LGBTI and sexual rights activists to the human rights mainstream—critical in a country where discrimination against LGBTI individuals is deep-seated and widespread.
We also recently developed a pilot project focused on the extraction of natural resources in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara. There, unregulated artisanal mining by members of the local population has led to the deaths of over 300 children and young adults due to acute lead poisoning.
Through awareness-raising and monitoring and documentation trainings, we are developing and executing an advocacy campaign to engage government at all levels to demand transparency and accountability for the protection of their rights.
We are also helping community-based organizations work with appropriate government officials and local actors to strengthen the implementation of laws to end unregulated extraction that violate people’s rights.
Legal Empowerment in Under-Resourced Regions: Lessons Learned from Global Rights' Community-Based Paralegal Services in Nigeria and Uganda English
Facilitator Manual for Paralegal Training in Northern Nigeria English (English only)
NEWS & EVENTS
Global Rights Holds Workshop for Nigeria National Human Rights Commission »
In the News: Global Rights' Strategic Litigation Workshop in Nigeria featured in Daily Independent »
In the News: Global Rights' Nigeria Country Director interviewed on Africa Independent Television about our work in Zamfara, Nigeria »
News Release: Global Rights Holds Regional Workshop on Strategic Litigation »
Video: Meet our partner, the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative »
Photos: Our partner, the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, conducts paralegal training in Kano State, Nigeria »
Photo of the Week: Zamfara, Nigeria »
On the Blog: Sleeping Better at Night »
On the Blog: "Will Global Rights Teach Us?" »
IMPACT IN THE FIELD
Learn about the work that Global Rights’ partners are doing on the ground with the help of our training and technical assistance »