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14.05.2007 General News

Strengthen commissions on human rights - Committee

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The Ghana Committee on Human and People's Rights has called for the strengthening of structures of commissions on human rights to make them function effectively.

The Group stressed on equipping of the national, regional and district apparatus of the commissions with adequate human and material resources to address cases of human rights violations.

This was made in a statement signed by Ms. Veronica Ayikwei Kofie, Executive Director of the Committee. It comes as a prelude to the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, to be held in Accra from May 16 to 30.

The Committee requested that commissioners of commissions who have oversight responsibility for the West African sub-region be resourced to enhance their work and make their impact felt by the ordinary people whose interest was paramount.

The statement called for simplification of procedures for reporting violations and accessing the Africa Commission on Human and People's Rights and the Africa Human Rights court to create confidence and environment of trust.

The Committee noted that the blatant disrespect for rights such as civil, political cultural and children's right from the basic to the echelons of society had contributed in a large measure to the obstruction of justice resulting in bitter strives, political and social upheavals.

It pointed out that the situation where agencies set-up for the protection of limb, life and property were employed by the ruling establishments to brutalize, maim and even kill innocent people with impunity was alarming and should no longer be tolerated.

The statement noted that "journalists have been attacked and killed in cold blood for raising the alarm and speaking or publishing the truth on issues affecting the interest of society, trade unionists suffered similar fate or long prison terms for no apparent violation of the law but for representing their workers."

It also said lawyers have suffered for defending people's right, judges brutalized for upholding the rule of law and political opponents, suspects, prisoners and perceived enemies were subjected to inhumane treatment of one kind or the other.

The statement, therefore, urged African governments to understand that sustainable peace and development were dependent on democracy and respect for human rights, which were the key elements of good governance.

The Committee said "a human rights approach to development stresses liberty, equality and empowerment. This approach put people first and promotes human-centered development and African governments have a responsibility of helping to fulfill this aspiration".

Source: GNA

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