Nigerian human rights and international law expert, Adeola Austin Oyinlade, has been declared the 2021 American Bar Association (ABA) International Human Rights of the Year Laureate by American Bar Association (ABA) at its ongoing annual meeting in Chicago, United States of America.
ABA is the largest voluntary association of attorneys and legal professionals in the world.
The award presentation at the ABA first-ever Hybrid Annual Meeting was scheduled for a live broadcast on Thursday, August 5, 2021 between 11:30am and 12:00 Central Time for people across the globe to view virtually from the comfort of their homes and offices.
ABA President Patricia Lee Refo, in a statement said Oyinlade has “advanced solutions to human rights issues across Africa, including the South Sudan political crisis, the Central African Republic crisis, the Congo Democratic Republic armed conflict and Libyan peace talks.”
She also praised his contribution to the African Union on the implementation of the African Youth Charter.
In earlier statement, Jinny Choi on behalf of the Association said the award was being presented to Adeola Oyinlade “in recognition of his exceptional commitment and contribution to the advancement of human rights in Nigeria.”
In October 2018 in Rome, Italy, the world body of lawyers, International Bar Association (IBA), named Adeola Oyinlade, the IBA Human Rights Lawyer of the year for his outstanding contribution as a legal practitioner to human rights advancement.
This is the second time the Nigerian lawyer, who doubles as the Principal Partner of Adeola Oyinlade & Co; a law firm based in Lagos and founder of Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative (CRALI) would be recognized by global legal professional community for his human rights work in three year
Oyinlade, a member of the National Committee against Torture (NCAT) pioneered and unveiled the first-ever human rights empowerment app in multiple languages called “Know Your Rights Nigeria’ in 2016 in order to reach more people and break barriers posed by language and location.
On the “Know Your Rights Nigeria” app, there is an option to chat with the lawyer and his team of 50 lawyers on human rights issues daily and they respond to all inquiries and follow up on complaints.
Users of the app report abuse of rights anonymously, and even choose to access the content in English or Pidgin (widely spoken in West and Central Africa), and in major local languages like Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba spoken by over 100 million people in Nigeria with over 280,000 issues responded to on all the organization’s platforms over the years.
His simplifying of rights and safeguards to the understanding of the ordinary people on the streets, thereby making it accessible in languages of choice for users with mere tap of buttons in the palms, has proved effective for its free access, speedy dissemination of information and free legal support with thousands of people empowered.
His rights empowerment app in major local languages has made a real difference for the situation of women and the poor as the platform which people use to report abuse has been instrumental in uncovering systemic violations of rights in Nigeria.
In 2019, Oyinlade was engaged by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German foundation promoting democracy in Nigeria to train some senior government officials nationwide on human rights and social justice.
Aside inspiring university students within and outside Nigeria on human rights and public interest careers, he has set up a training unit for young lawyers and volunteers to enhance the quality of the empowerment offered locally to victims of human rights abuse in Nigeria.
At the regional level, through advocacy, the Nigerian international law expert has proffered solutions to armed conflict issues in African countries including the South Sudan Political Crisis, the Central African Republic Crisis, the Congo Democratic Republic Armed conflict, and the Libyan peace talks among others with impact.
While Oyinlade has contributed his expertise to the African Union Commission by delivering papers on the implementation of African Youth Charter and made recommendations on reforming national laws in compliance with the regional youth charter, he has equally graced the United Nations’ speaking platforms on his human rights work and social innovation across many countries of the world.
Adeola Oyinlade is the first ever Nigerian, second African after Abdelrahman Al Gasim, a Sudanese lawyer, to receive the annual American Bar International Human Rights Award.