The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Monday ushered in a week of activities to commemorate this year's International Human Rights Day with the launch of the Braille version of CHRAJ Act, 1993 (Act 456).
The Braille version was to make it easier for the visually impaired to read and understand the provisions of the Act and help equalize accessibility to human rights protection for a better tomorrow.
Activities earmarked for the week on the theme; “Human Rights and Social Justice in Ghana at 50: Have we Come Of Age? Human Rights Information fair, launch of CHRAJ Anti-Corruption documentary, and Human Rights Educational Manual for Ghana Education Service, symposium on Making Healthcare Accessible to All, and Human Rights Quiz Competition.
Mr Richard Quayson a Deputy CHRAJ Commissioner and Mr Kwabena Akwei, Chief Director, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MESS) jointly launched the week and the Braille version at commemorative ceremony at Akropong School for the Blind.
Mr. Quayson said climax of the week-long activities would focus on the presentation of the Commission's State of Human Rights Report December 10 to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Day.
The CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner noted that in spite of the giant strides the nation had made in promoting human rights and social justices over the past 50 years, “we must be honest enough to admit that a lot of our people remain poor, extremely vulnerable, and feel excluded.”
Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Education Science and Sports, in a speech read on his behalf, said citizenship education, properly conceived and implemented, provide one of the most effective means of making democracy flourish.
“In our desire to see the fragile democracies of Africa take deep roots, grow and blossom, we must pay more attention to democracy and human rights education…education for responsible citizenship must be seen as a collective responsibility,” Prof. Fobih stated.
He called for a pro-active civic education work to entrench democracy in the country, stressing that any democratization process that is devoid of the critical ingredients of civic awareness and respect for fundamental human rights must be a big hoax.
Prof Fobih suggested that civic consciousness and valuing human rights and cultural diversity should be added to the promulgation of constitutions and declarations of parliament in order to make democracy functional in the country.
In order to cultivate a crop of dynamic citizens, who would also be watchdogs on democracy, the Minister noted that it is important that civic education is organized in ways that would speak to the hearts, and minds of people.
He therefore said the promotion and protection of human rights and democratic governance in the country should not be taken for granted.
Mr Joseph S. Annor, Headmaster of Akropong Special School for the Blind called for an urgent measure to write the Braille versions of textbooks and syllabi for the new educational reforms, the 1992 Constitution and other national documents.
He said the school established in 1945, currently hosts about 300 students, with 52 teachers and 48 non-teaching staffs.
The school runs the formal basic education programme of the Ghana Educations Service in addition to crafts work, examinable by the National Vocational Training Institute; Adult rehabilitation class; multiple handicap classes; and a pilot musical academy.
He said in spite of the vulnerability of the students, basic necessities to enable them study are lacking, as the school have only 20 computers for the 300 students.
Mr Annor said the school needed a Braille Embosser and Scanner; photocopiers for large print, Braille sheets, Braille machines, white canes, computers with speech soft wares Sea grass, nylon ropes drillers, hides and shine for leather works and playing materials.
He appealed to the Government, the diplomatic community, non-governmental agencies, religious institutions and philanthropists to come to the aid of the school.
CHRAJ donated a mower machine to the school to mark the International Day of the Disabled in Ghana.