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13.10.2004 Press Review

ISD News File - Wednesday, October 13

By ISD

NRC PRESENTS REPORTS TO PRESIDENT KUFUOR

The Chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), Mr. Justice K. E. Amuah-Sakyi, yesterday presented its report to President Kufuor, at the Castle, Osu.

Receiving the comprehensive report of the NRC, the President said that the government would leave the perpetrators of human rights violations, who did not show any remorse at the NRC, to their own conscience.

He said the government would not pursue any legal action against such violators of human rights, because the work of the NRC was not supposed to be persecutory or prosecuting, adding that “destiny has its own way of exacting justice”.

In the case of those who showed remorse, President Kufuor said, the nation could appeal to people, whether they are religious or not, to forgive the offenders, “what is important is that the nation can be healed of its painful past”, the President said.

The report, which is in five volumes, covers the petitions submitted by victims of human rights abuses, proceedings of the commission, hearings of institutions such as the media, security agencies and other bodies on the roles they played in human rights violations.

Other members of the Commission are Mr. Christian Appiah-Agyei, Lt. Gen. E. A. Erskine, Dr. (Mrs) Sylvia Boye, the Most Rev. Charles Palmer-Buckle, Maulvi Wahab Adam, Professor Florence Dolphyne, Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu and Ubor Balafu, a traditional ruler.

DELEGATION OF MUSLIM LEADERS CALL ON PRESIDENT KUFUOR

President J. A. Kufuor yesterday received a delegation of Muslim leaders and Zongo chiefs at the Castle, Osu.

The President urged Muslim leaders and Zongo chiefs to encourage the youth in muslim communities to secure balanced education.

This, he said, was a key strategy for them to take advantage of the many opportunities in the country for their capacity building, to enable them to contribute meaningfully to national development.

President Kufuor said, as long as the muslim communities confined themselves to exclusive Arabic education (makaranta school), without accessing secular education, they would not be able to take advantage of the opportunities being created by the government for human resource development.

The President was responding to concerns raised by the spokesman of the delegation about the apparent absence of muslims in the mainstream of national development activities.

The President said, the government would agree to the suggestion to establish the Hajj Board, because although the people who participated in the Hajj did so as a private religious duty, the country had a duty to ensure the welfare and protection of its citizens.

The delegation, comprising representatives of muslim and zongo communities across the country was at the Castle to express appreciation to the President for his efforts at national development and also for his initiatives to improve the lives of muslim and zongo communities.

GBC GETS NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A new board of directors for the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was inaugurated in Accra yesterday.

The nine-member board, which will serve a two year term, is chaired by the Paramount Chief of the Esikado Traditional Area, in the Western Region, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who is also an anthropologist.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr. Wilson Kusi-Atansah, said the board had the arduous task of ensuring the continuing “effectiveness and profitability of GBC”.

Other members of the board are, Mrs. Margaret Amoakohene, Lecturer, School of Communications Studies, University of Ghana, Mrs. Stella Amegashie, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants,

Mr. Ben Batabe Asserow, Communication Director, Catholic Secretariat, Ms. Georgette Francois, Legal Practitioner, Mr. A. T. D. Okine, General Secretary, Public Services Workers Union, Mrs. Vicky Achaa Wireko Ando, Journalist & Corporate Public Relations Manager, UNILEVER, Mr. K. D. Frimpong, Chartered Engineer, and Ms. Eva Lokko, Director-General, GBC.

COUNTERPART BODIES SALUTE NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

Congratulatory messages have been sent to the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) from local and foreign organisations on the completion of its mandate.

A solidarity message sent by the former Commissioner of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Yasnuin Sooka, said the NRC's work was a significant step taken by ghanaians on the road to building a new nation.

In his message, Dr. Alex Boraine, former President of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), New York, called for a renewed commitment from the government and the people of Ghana, because “the NRC is just the first step in a long journey toward national reconciliation”.

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)/Civil Society Coalition on National Reconciliation, in a message released by Justice V. C. R. A. C. Crabbe, Chairman, expressed admiration for the NRC for the diligence, courage, determination, openness and integrity with which it performed its difficult and complex tasks, under conditions of severe resource constraints.

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR) in a message said, the NRC began its work at the same time that the CAVR in Timor-Leste was doing a similar thing.

“While we may be working at different ends of the world, we at the CAVR are proud to be part of an international movement aimed at consolidating human rights at the core of national and international development”, it said.

VOTERS URGED TO CHECK REGISTER

The exhibition of the voter's register, in advance of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary election, began yesterday, Tuesday, October 12, at all polling stations in Ghana and ends on Sunday, October 17.

Speaking to the Times yesterday, Mr. Kofi Arhin, Director of Elections at the Electoral Commission (EC), entreated all registered voters to cross-check their names in the register to avoid any embarrassment on elections day.

Mr. Arhin advised those whose photographs on their voter's identification cards were “extremely bad” to go to the EC district office nearest to their place of registration to have their pictures retaken.

He instructed independent presidential and parliamentary candidates not to choose any of the symbols whose use for electoral purposes is prohibited by law, and not to use the colours of the national flag.

The Director of Elections stated that the EC had compiled a selection of emblems from which independent candidates could choose.

GJA URGES MEMBERS TO UPHOLD ETHICS

The current national executive of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) is one year in office.

To mark the occasion which fell on Sunday, October 10, the national executive expressed its gratitude to the public and its partners for their continued support in the development of the ghanaian media.

A statement issued and signed by the President, Ms. Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, the GJA urged all media personnel, particularly journalists and photo journalists, “to demonstrate an even greater commitment to higher professionalism and press freedom, values we consider crucial to the steady development of the country's democracy and specifically to the holding of a free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in December.

The statement further urged all media houses to make it a policy to carry out fair and balanced coverage.

The association expressed gratitude to its major collaborators, particularly the United States Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development, the United Nations Development Programme, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the United States Embassy, the French Embassy and the National Media Commission for supporting their training programmes.

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