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27.06.2005 General News

UN urges states to adhere to protocol against torture

GNA

Accra, June 27, GNA - United Nations (UN) Secretary General Busumuru Kofi Annan has again appealed to all states to ratify and adhere to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. The Protocol, which the UN General Assembly adopted on 18th December 2002, establishes a framework, which allows international and national bodies to visit places where persons did not have liberty.

In a statement to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Busumuru Annan reminded the nations of the world that the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture was non-negotiable and that torture could not be justifiable by any circumstances whatsoever.

In Ghana, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and CHRISMEK Rights Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, on Monday held a joint press conference in connection with the Day, which fell on June 26 and was on the theme: "Together Against Torture".

Busumuru Annan said the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, included an absolute ban on transferring any person to another jurisdiction where there were reasonable grounds to believe that the person was at risk of torture. "Torture in all forms, and in all its contexts, is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. On this day, let us reaffirm our commitment to that principle, and resolve to persevere in our efforts to end torture in the world", Busumuru Annan said.

Mrs Lilian Ayete-Nyampong, Deputy Director of Education, CHRAJ, noted that the country was obliged to abide by the provisions of the UN Convention Against Torture, the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and the 1992 Constitution to translate provisions regarding acts of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment into concrete measures that prevented such atrocities. She deplored the activities of persons, who were not necessarily State agents but took the law into their own hands and perpetrated acts of torture, and observed that the most commonplaces for torture in the [Ghanaian] society were the Police cells, prisons and other detention centres.

Mrs Ayete-Nyampong stated that the deplorable conditions in the Police and Prison cells constituted a violation of Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution, and thereby infringed on the rights and dignity of inmates and suspects. She stated that the CHRAJ commended the erstwhile National Reconciliation Commission, which offered alleged victims of torture and witnesses to tell their stories and subsequently freed from continuing suffering in silence.

The CHRAJ, she said, was looking forward to see the provision of remedies including reparation and rehabilitation for the victims. The President of CHRISMECK, Mr Christopher Mensah asked Judges, Lawyers, and Policemen, who delayed cases through bribery and corruption to deny citizens justice, to know that they were equally guilty of torture.

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