Source: Nigeria Today
This year’s European Union (EU) Day celebrations have been dedicated by the regional organisation to protecting the rights of African women, its Ambassador and Head of delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Michael Arrion disclosed yesterday.
He stated that the choice of the theme was influenced by the shared aspiration by Europe and Africa, of a world, where every individual was accorded his or her dignity, irrespective of gender.
Europe Day, which is celebrated on May 9 each year, is in commemoration of the integration of European nations in 1950, shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1945.
“The declaration, made by the then French Foreign Minister, Robert Schumacher, set the keynote for what eventually evolved into the European Union as it is today. In just over six and a half decades of evolution, the European Union has become a model of regional, political and economic integration. With its wide network of partnership across the world, the EU stands out as a key player in global affairs”, Arrion said.
On the interest in African women’s rights, he added that a lot remained to be done in Africa and Nigeria in particular, with regards to gender empowerment and equality.
“This year’s theme is the African Year of Human Rights with emphasis on women rights. A lot remains to be done in Nigeria in terms of women rights and gender equality. It is not only a legal principle but also something that can contribute to the welfare of the people and the nation.
“Women are the engine of production in Nigeria especially the grassroots women. But when you see the representation of women in the legislature and governors forum, you will know that there are lots to be done. It is my view that gender equality be included in the school curriculum for both boys and girls”.
He stated further, “The European Union is in the forefront of the protection and fulfillment of human rights and vigorously promotes them in its external relations. Equality between men and women is a core value of the European Union, enshrined in its legal and political framework.
“In recent years, there has been an increasing political momentum in the international community to ensure that girls’ and women’s rights are fulfilled and that actions aimed at empowering the female gender are adequately supported”.
Arrion also used the forum to announce that EU would be fully represented at the highest level in the up-coming security summit being organised by the Nigerian government.
According to him, the EU High Representative/Vice President, Ms. Federica Mogherini, who is the Foreign and Security Policy spokesperson, has confirmed her participation in the event.
“It is not surprising that the EU is identifying with this effort to find lasting solution to Nigeria’s security issues.