Condemned the clampdown on sex workers by the police – amnesty International, ex-NHRC boss

Amnesty International as well as a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, have condemned the clampdown on sex workers by the police and the Federal Capital Territory authorities .

According to AI , the raids are discriminatory because only women are being arrested.

The organisation wrote on Twitter , “The raids and abuse targeted women , hence discriminatory and are gender -based violence.

We are calling FCT and police authorities to investigate allegations of abuse of the women .

“ Amnesty International is concerned by a spate of arrests and humiliation of women by FCT officials and the police , in some parts of Abuja . These arrests clearly show unacceptable deliberate targeting of women . ”

In a series of tweets , Odinkalu also condemned the raids, insisting that prostitution was not a crime .

The activist said many women were wrongly accused of being sex workers when in fact this was not true.

The former NHRC boss wrote , “ Some folks still think in 2019 that it ’ s OK for people claiming to wear uniforms provided by Nigerians or in our name to abduct women from clubs , calling them prostitutes .

First , as shocking as it may sound , being a ‘ prostitute ’ – whatever that means – is actually not a crime

“ Second, there ’ s no ‘ prostitute ’ exception to the fundamental rights in the constitution. In particular , the rights to dignity of the human person and to personal liberty apply to all persons within Nigeria, not just to those whom we like .

“ Third, there ’ s something fundamentally off about upending sovereign powers and prerogatives of equal protection to abuse mass segments of its vulnerable population by stigmatising forms of identity .

These people are not fighting immorality ; they criminalise womanhood . ”

The activist noted that an ECOWAS court had ruled that it was wrong to raid women randomly on the streets .

Odinkalu subsequently called on the government to check the activities of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board .

He added , “This business of criminalising womanhood in Nigeria ’ s capital city, Abuja , serves no policy or rational purpose .

Even worse , it ’ s itself criminal . The people who do it seek to extort and abuse the women whom they abduct .

They’ re criminals .

“ In addition to wilfully embarrassing Nigeria , there’ s another reason we must # EndAEPBImpunity: they ’ re clearly lawless .

Two years ago , ECOWAS Court of Justice determined that this kind of abduction of women from the streets of Abuja is unlawful
“ Nigeria or some folks in its name seem to want to double down on or escalate the idea that it ’ s criminal to be a woman in Abuja .

That must be resisted by all people of goodwill
“ A lot of the conversation about the advocacy to # EndAEPBImpunity for the abduction of women from the streets and clubs of Abuja is based on the mistake that being a ‘ prostitute ’ is a crime and how a woman dresses can make her one.

Both are unfounded and it ’ s necessary to debunk them . ”

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