22.04.2005 General News

Government to establish reparation fund

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Accra, April 22, GNA - Government is to establish and make operational a Reparation and Rehabilitation Fund before the end of this year, Mr Ayikoi Otoo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said on Friday.

The fund would be used to compensate victims of human rights violations and abuses during the unconstitutional regimes in the country.

Presenting the Government's White Paper on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) Report, Mr Otoo, said the Government was taking urgent steps to establish, resource and provide modalities for the Fund in line with the recommendation of NRC.

President John Agyekum Kufuor inaugurated the NRC on May 6, 2002 under Act 611 to help the country chart a new path for achieving national healing, peace, stability and reconciliation.

The NRC was to examine human rights abuses during periods of unconstitutional governments and to recommend appropriate redress for persons, who had suffered any injury, hurt or damage.

After 18 months of listening to stories of human rights abuses, the NRC wound up its hearings to work on the Report, which it submitted to the President on October 12, 2004.

A major finding of the Commission was that more human rights abuses occurred under unconstitutional regimes.

Mr Otoo expressed Government's appreciation to the Commission for suggesting various sources of generating the funds and also the various forms of reparation as well as specific disbursement criteria. He said the Government had also accepted the other recommendations of the NRC and would take the necessary steps to implement them in full. However, in doing so, he said, the actions of the Government would be guided by the conviction that the recommendations were meant to promote the good of Ghanaians and foster genuine reconciliation. On specific recommendations, Mr Otoo said the Government accepted the general recommendations of the Commission on the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police Service and the Prisons Service and had directed the Councils of the institutions to study and implement the recommendations.

However, Mr Otoo said the Government believed that the best way to prevent the misuse of these forces was to ensure transparency, fairness and the highest level of professionalism in the recruitment, training and deployment of the forces.

Mr Otoo said in line with ensuring that the violations and abuses did not recur, Government had directed that the Ministry of Education should make copies of the NRC report available in both public and private school libraries.

Mr Otoo also rendered a preliminary apology to victims of violations and abuses and "all those who had been wronged in the name of the Republic".

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