18.04.2004 General News

Ghanaians urged to accept recommendations of NRC

18.04.2004 LISTEN

Wa, April 18, GNA - Ghanaians have been called upon to respond positively to recommendations that would be made by the National Reconciliation Commission for redress to victims of human rights violations.

Mr Mohammed Affum, Acting Director of Public Affairs of the Commission, who made the call, said this would present a national acknowledgement of the pain and suffering of the victims.

He was speaking at separate public education fora for traditional rulers, opinion leaders, assembly members and a cross section of the general public at Wa, Lawra and Tumu in the Upper West Region.

The fora were organised by the Centre of Democratic Development - Civil Society Coalition on Natio9nal Reconciliation and sponsored by Open Society Initiative for West Africa, National Governance Programme and IBIS.

He said true national reconciliation would create a peaceful climate for national development.

Mr Affum said institutional hearings being conducted by the Commission had established that Ghanaians, through their silence or other actions, bore a great responsibility for the human rights violations by successive governments from 1957 to January 1993. He described as erroneous the view by some people that the NRC was targeting a certain regime.

"We must be bold to face up to the historical truth that a lot of Ghanaians have had their human rights violated. We must act to heal their wounds and resolve that we will never allow them to happen again", he added.

Speaking on the "role of counselling in the work of the NRC", Sheikh Seebaway Zakariah, a counsellor said, counselling of victims of human rights violations had helped them come out of their pain and anguish of their bitter past to face life with renewed hope and pragmatism.

He said since forgiveness was necessary for true reconciliation, counselling assisted victims to put their traumatic experiences into proper perspective and encouraged them to forgive their perpetrators as forgiveness was good for the victims themselves.

Alhaji Alhassan Abdulai, a member of the CDD/Civil Society Coalition on National Reconciliation, said the coalition had followed the activities of the Commission and was satisfied that with its work. He called on Ghanaians to learn to forgive and forget so that they could live in peace and develop the nation.

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