The Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC has stated that the Commonwealth is “closely monitoring developments around suspension of Twitter, and allegations of repression of the rights to freedom
Ms Scotland said: “All Commonwealth member countries, including Nigeria, have obligations and commitments to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments.”
he statement by the Commonwealth followed an Urgent Appeal by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urging Ms Scotland to “apply the Commonwealth Charter to hold the Nigerian government to account over the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and the resulting repression of freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
This development was disclosed today by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.
In the Urgent Appeal, SERAP had stated that: “The Nigerian government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not committed to protecting human rights. The Commonwealth should take a clear stand to ensure accountability of institutions, freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in Nigeria.”
Responding, Ms Scotland in a letter sent to SERAP, said: “I write to acknowledge with thanks, receipt of your letter dated 5 June 2021 highlighting concerns about the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.”
The letter by the Commonwealth dated 22 July 2021, and signed on behalf of Ms Scotland by Roger Koranteng, Officer in Charge, Governance and Peace Directorate, read in part: “The Commonwealth Secretary-General has been following the developments in Nigeria very closely and she is engaging the relevant stakeholders.”