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10.02.2005 Regional News

CHRAG calls for support from heads of departments

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Ho, Feb 10, GNA - Heads of Departments in the Volta region have been urged to support the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice seriously in its efforts to address human rights and administrative abuses in the Public and Civil Services.

Mr George Hornuvor, Acting Regional Director of the Commission, made the call at a sensitisation workshop for Heads of Departments in the Ho Municipality to address the concern of lack of co-operation with the Commission.

He said the Commission had so far been magnanimous with uncooperative heads of departments who disregarded requests for assistance in resolving complaints brought before it. "I wish to state here that if we had in the past decided to implement the provisions contained in section 24 to the letter perhaps, many of us would have been victims of the violations of these provisions", Mr Hornuvor observed.

Part five of Section 24 of the CHRAJ Act 1993, ACT 456, said in part that "any person who without lawful justification or excuse, refuses or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful request of the commission or a Deputy Commissioner or any other person, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 500,000 cedis and in default to imprisonment for a term of six moths or to both".

Mr Hornuvor, who is also a Principal Investigator of the Commission, recalled that it was only once that a former District Chief Executive and one other person were arraigned before the Ho High Court and were convicted and fined 200,000 cedis each for contempt of the commission.

"It is not the intention of the Commission in the region to be committing people to contempt. I wish therefore to appeal to all heads of departments to co-operate with the Commission in the discharge of its functions", Mr Hornuvor said.

He took the participants through the Complaints Procedure Regulations 1994 Constitutional Instrument number 7 and the Act establishing the Commission and its powers.

The Principal Administrative Officer of the Commission, Mr George Adzovie, asked the Heads of Departments to assist the Commission in educating their communities and staff on human rights issues. He observed that the greatest obstacle to human rights is the "intellectual hostility of some supposedly well educated people who falsely assert that human rights standards are attributes of foreign culture".

Mr Ralph Avornyo, Acting Volta Regional Director of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, who presided, observed that Heads of Departments like their subordinates equally need the Commission to rally to their aid when their rights are infringed on.

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