CEHRD researches, monitors and document on human rights , small arms, governance and topical biodiversity and environmental issues in the Niger Delta region and their associated human rights impacts. Below are some of the published papers and reports of CEHRD on the above subject matter.
In a bid to actualize its mission and strategic objectives, CEHRD has partnered with several networks and coalitions at local and international level, sharing similar mission and vision. CEHRD is the coordinating secretariat of the West African Human Rights Defenders Network [WAHRDN] and the Rivers State Chapter of Child Protection (CPN).
WAHRDN was established in May 2005, at the end of an international conference of human rights organisations in Dakar, Senegal. The network represents 14 national human rights coalitions in the West African Sub-region.
CEHRD is a leading member of the African Mangrove Network [AMN], working to protect and conserve mangrove forests throughout the African Continent.
Other networks and coalitions which CEHRD belongs to include:-
Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) started as Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD). The formation of the organisation was the outcome of a meeting of environmentalists, conservationists, human rights and health activists who gathered, at the village community of Erema in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State, located in the southernmost part of Nigeria.
The meeting resulted into “The Erema Accord” and subsequent meetings in Port Harcourt, headquarters of Rivers State crystallized in the birth of the Niger Delta Project Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) on August 15, 1999. Subsequently, NDPEHRD was registered with the Ministry of Environment as an environmental non-governmental organisation (ENGO) on April 5, 2001, and with the Social Services Bureau of the Ministry of Social Welfare as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on July 13, 2004, with the Government of Rivers State of Nigeria.
NDPEHRD started as a small, independent and progressive group of activists responding to government policies, oil and gas companies activities, human rights violations, proliferations of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) as they affect the rural people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
In mid 2005, following the decision of the board of the Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD), to be registered too, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The name was change from the Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) to Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD).
A just society with an enabling environment for the realization of the peoples’ fundamental human rights
To forge a common link with the rural Niger Delta communities primarily through research, participatory trainings, campaigns and advocacy on the problems confronting them. Equipping them with the basic knowledge of their situation and encouraging them to address the issues themselves.
In our work, we do not compromise our:-
CEHRD's works cover the following three thematic areas:
CEHRD undertakes human rights campaigns, advocacy, and litigation, on behalf of victims of human rights violations. This program pursues good governance through engagement, civic, and voter's education. Also, anti-arms proliferation and unregulated arms trade campaigns are coordinated under this category. CEHRD monitors small arms trade and its misuse or abuse in the hands of government security forces and non-state actors like militia, armed civilian (“cult”) groups, gangsters, etc. We also monitor its consequences on the people, especially women and children. Furthermore, under the Human Rights Program, CEHRD works towards its prevention, minimization and eradication through outreach, education, and legislative campaigns. At the core of the human rights program of CEHRD is the Child Rights Project.
In July 2009, CEHRD formalised its partnership arrangement with Stepping Stones Foundation to monitor, document and report child right violations in six states (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Edo) of the Niger Delta. The project in line with the mandate of Stepping Stone Nigeria (SSN) is dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged children such as the so called “child witches” in the Niger Delta. We are working towards a world where every child is free and their rights are protected under a just law.
CEHRD is concerned about the health of the rural Niger Delta community members. This Program area seeks to address issues of rural health. CEHRD runs this program to create awareness, better knowledge, and provide active health care for the rural people in the Niger Delta geographic communities. We also promote health protection through enlightenment, and outreach campaigns against prevalent diseases such as tuberculosis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, etc, and planned parenting.
CEHRD promotes sustainable development of the community in partnership with government where appropriate. However, we oppose ill-planned Development Projects that neglect input from local peoples, including destroying the basis of their rural livelihood and economies. We also promote human rights based development. It is obvious that due to the unevenness in evolution of societies, the development process is often initiated and led by certain categories of people in the community privileged by its history to be enlightened – the top-down approach often lead to “dumped development”. Nevertheless, the development process can only be successful if along the way; there emerge a collectively enlightened people. Apart from this, we are left with a community of beggars and benefactors.
Over the years, CEHRD has carefully ensured that its activities are not influenced by politicians. This has been maintained through non acceptance of bribes or gratifications from the government, oil and gas multinationals or their agencies. The revenue accrued from crude oil which contributes to over 90% of the national revenue, since 1965, predominantly returns to the pocket of those in power and their allies.
Recognising that the Environment is life, CEHRD engages in conservation of forests (rainforests, flood plains, and mangrove forests); wild life protection, restoration and bio-diversity conservation; better agricultural and fishing practices to enhance food security. Environmental and conservation program promotes non-violent activities, eco-tourism, volunteerism, community stewardship, and management of local natural resources.
MAIN GEOGRAPHICAL FOCUS :The Niger Delta Region
CEHRD was incorporated in August 15, 1999 as the Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development (NDPEHRD) and re-incorporated under its new name CEHRD in 2005 following its board decision. CEHRD was founded by conservationists, environmentalists, activists, and health workers in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. CEHRD was formed to respond to the environmental, human rights, rural health, and underdevelopment problems plaguing the Niger Delta.
CEHRD’s scope is local and national in nature. While we liaise with international groups by way of networks and coalitions, our primary focus remains improving on peoples’ traditional knowledge of biodiversity conservation, monitoring, documenting and reporting of human rights violations, and advocating for justice, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
1. Our works cut across all strata of society in terms of age, gender and abilities.
2. The ratio of women to men we serve is 55:45.
CEHRD’s work spans through the entire Niger Delta. Our main focus is on the rural areas, its people, biodiversity conservation, rural health and population. We also monitor document and report human rights violations across the region. In some of the cases, CEHRD provides legal advocacy to victims of human rights violations. With an unemployment rate of over 70%, dire poverty, and dim prospects, some young men seek financial and physical security by joining armed gangs, or "cults." Many of these cults are periodically sponsored by local governmental officials and/or community leaders to carry out campaigns of violence designed to influence local decision-making, especially during election periods. Often, these gangs are also used to sway village leaders and communities' opinions on oil-related projects. In all cases, the influx of cheap arms has led to a drastic increase in violence.