Fr. Kevin O’Hara (SPS) is honoured

HRCRC congratulates Fr. Kevin O’Hara (SPS) for his most recent Humanitarian Award given in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the promotion of human rights in Nigeria’. The award was bestowed on him by CAPIO (Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organisation), a rights-based organisation in Enugu State in October 2017.

Fr. Kevin is well known for his activism in the area of human rights, rule of law, democracy and peace. The native of Stranorlar, a small town in the Finn Valley of County Donegal in Ireland has been in Nigeria since 1980 when he first came into the country as a St Patrick’s Missionary Society priest. Observing gross violations of human rights especially in the Nigerian prisons and police cells in his place of ministry in the Eastern Nigeria, Fr Kevin was moved to act. He founded Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Centre, then known by the name Human Rights Commission (this was before Nigerian government established Human Rights Commission in 1995). The group was dedicated to the welfare of prisons and cells, touring cities, towns and villages across Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Benue and Cross River states.

The same passion to stand up for rights of the marginalised moved him to also establish the Centre for Corporate Responsibility (CCR) in Port-Harcourt and later Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) in Bayelsa State. His activities with these groups helped to shed lights on the unwholesome practices of the extractive industries in the Niger Delta as a result of which the indigenous people of the region found themselves in deplorable socio-ecological conditions. ‘The goat in the flow station’, one of his notable documentary, was screened across Europe and America as a major indictment against the multinationals in the extractive industries of Niger Delta thereby creating a radical shift to the narrative on corporate social responsibilities vis-à-vis indigenous people’s rights to development.

Although, Fr. Kevin, an alumnus of Bath University, UK (studied Responsibility and Business Practice) now heads the St Patrick’s Missionary Society in West Africa as the District Leader, he remains a staunch defender and promoter of human rights in Nigeria. And while he is not new to awards as he has been given numerous recognitions for his contribution to humanity (e.g. he is a recipient of United Nations Award for ‘Waging Peace through Development”), for us at HRCRC (his very first love) we take this forum to congratulate him and wish him well.

Fr. Kevin honoured
Fr. Kevin O’Hara (SPS) is honoured

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