The Bar Human Rights Committee conducted a training for the Nigerian Bar Association on Environmental Rights and Alternative Dispute Resolution for lawyers from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The training took place in Abuja, Nigeria and brought together representatives from every branch in the Niger Delta region as well as lawyers from each state’s attorney general’s office and key government agencies working to address the oil spills and environmental pollution in the Niger Delta.

The training was conducted by BHRC Chair Kirsty Brimelow QC and members Tim Cooke-Hurle, Kemi Ojutiku, and Keven Jon Heller. They were supported by BHRC Executive Officer Amanda June Chadwick in partnership with the Policy and Strategic Planning Advisor for the NBA, Zainab Animashaun.

The training brought nearly 100 lawyers from the Niger Delta region to learn about the domestic, regional and international standards on environmental rights and protections and on available mechanisms of redress, including alternative dispute resolution. The training is part of an ongoing partnership between BHRC and the Nigerian Bar Association to build the working knowledge of lawyers in Nigeria on regional and international standards and mechanisms for human rights. The training was designed to build the capacity of lawyers working in the Niger Delta region representing communities impacted by oil spills and other environmental pollution as a result of extraction industries operating in the region.

During the four-day training, the lawyers were introduced to fundamental concepts of regional and international law. Participants were also asked to participate in practical exercises on case management, drafting submissions to international treaty bodies and special rapporteurs, and conducting interviews with vulnerable witnesses.

After the training was complete, 50 of the participants were selected to participate in a fifth day of training on how to conduct the training for others. These lawyers were given guidance from BHRC on how to prepare for and conduct the training and were given the opportunity to present some of the more challenging elements of the regional and international training to their peers. The new trainers will work with the NBA’s Niger Delta Task Force to conduct training on environmental law and alternative dispute resolution to other lawyers in the Niger Delta.

This manual was researched, complied and created by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.The pilot training is coordinated in partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association.This training has received financial support from Rule of Law Expertise UK (ROLE UK), UKAid and the Niger Delta Development Commission.

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