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All about human rights issues in Ghana.

Impeachment of EC Boss: A Bad Move for Gender Equality

Impeachment of EC Boss: A Bad Move for Gender Equality published on

Is This How to Promote Gender Balance?

Chair of EC - Ghana
Chair of EC – Ghana

Do you know that a process to remove the Chair Person of the Electoral Commission of Ghana from office has been initiated by the Chief Justice?

But what are the reasons for this move by the ruling government and the Chief Justice? They are still not clear to most of us!

According to the electoral commissioner, Mrs Shallot Osei herself, she still doesn’t know her accusers! If this is true, where is the fairness?

Anyway, there are rumours that the petition for the impeachment of Madam Shallot Osei was sent to the President of the Republic by two drivers of the Electoral Commission – which is quite strange to me.

I’m just wondering what these drivers know about Ghana’s procurement processes; and how they managed to know that the process has been breached to warrant a petition for her removal. Because I hear one of the accusations is that she did not follow procurement procedures.

In my opinion, what is happening to this woman is not only about her; but all women in Ghana . It is a general attack on women’s right to political participation and our quest of gender equality in public life in Ghana.

It seems some people just don’t believe a beautiful woman can be competent enough to handle a top public office. That’s why her appointment was met with awful harassment and insults in the media.

I recall how her appointment was met with so much opposition simply because of her gender.

Indeed, she was maliciously accused of getting the position by offering sexual favours to the then president; regardless of the fact that she is a married woman.

All that some of us want is that the security and development of this nation must not be sacrificed on the altar of parochial interests.

The good book says: “All things are permissible but not all things are expedient.” The government may have all the powers to remove her, but to what effect?

Instead of trying to remove the EC Boss, who just organized a very successful election in 2016, the government should be making tangible efforts to cure the growing gender inequality in the country.

Written By:  Rose Mary Kayi

Don’t Shut Down Our Radio Stations

Don’t Shut Down Our Radio Stations published on

NCA

For the Sake of Freedom of Expression, NCA, Please Don’t Shut Down Radio Stations

The National Communications Authority’s (NCA) decision to close down so many (over 130) radio stations in Ghana is a very wrong move against freedom of expression that must be reversed immediately.

The individual’s right to freedom of expression duly guaranteed in chapter five, article 21 (1)a of the 1992 of Ghana is a crucial fundamental human right which must be protected at all cost.  The constitution clearly states: “All persons shall have the right to- freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media” (Article: 21 (1)a)

It should be noted that these affected radio stations serve a large proportion of the Ghanaian population by providing them with relevant information on national issues and platform to voice out their opinion.

It is also worthy of note that, easy access to the media by the citizenry is extremely vital for national cohesion and development. So NCA’s decision can negatively affect the peace and development of the country.

UNBELIEVABLE FINES

Clearly, some of the fines imposed by the National Communications Authority (NCA) are so high and absolutely bizarre that they seem unfair to the ordinary mind.

For instance, we are told that Radio Gold has been fined GH C 61 million for failing to file certain documents at the National Communications Authority in time. And for Montie FM, we are told that the NCA refused to take the money for the renewal of their licence and went ahead to shut down the station because of just eleven days delay. This seems arbitrary and unfair.

I think that NCA’s decision is extremely high-handed, disproportionate and not good for the growth our democracy.

As the Holy Bible says “All things are lawful but not all things are profitable” (1Cor. 6:12). The NCA may have the power to impose these fines but the effect might become unprofitable for the whole nation in the long run.

MEDIA PLURALISM AND TOLERANCE

It must be noted that the varieties of media outlets we have in Ghana greatly contribute to the promotion of media pluralism which is necessary for airing and reflecting the different views and values of the larger Ghanaian society.

Such views, no matter how divergent do matter just as the views of those who support government. We therefore urge tolerance for divergent views so that we can sustain the peace and security we currently enjoy.

THE CALL

We call on the NCA to reverse its decision and allow all affected radio stations to operate again. We also call on all civil society groups, Ghana Journalist Association, Members of the Diplomatic core, Chiefs and all well-meaning Ghanaians to impress upon NCA to quickly RESCIND its decision for the peace of our dear nation.

Rose K

Delta Force Fine Is Bad Precedent For Justice

Delta Force Fine Is Bad Precedent For Justice published on

The Fine Isn’t Good For Our Nation’s Peace And Stability

The meager fine of GHC23, 400 imposed on 13 members of the delta force by a Kumasi circuit court recently is not only disappointing but a really bad precedent for the delivery of justice in Ghana and a threat to our peace and security.

We were told by the President of the country that, the thirteen (13) members of the group calling itself delta force, a vigilante group of the ruling New Patriotic Party  who were arraigned before court in March 2017 for attacking the newly appointed Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Adjei, would be ruthlessly dealt with.

So many people who were very disgusted at the time by what happened were expecting adequate and befitting punishment for the group to serve as a deterrent for others.

However, that was not to be.  As a result, many Ghanaians, including the Stand Ghana team consider the small fine of GHC1,800 for each person unsatisfactory because it does not seem deterrent enough to prevent lawlessness in the country.

What is more worrying is the fact that people are complaining about the judgement being selective and discriminatory in nature; because others in similar situation but from different political party had been given harsher punishment than this.

If this kind of perception is not properly addressed by the Police & Judiciary, people will find it normal taking the law into their own hands knowing that they will not face the full rigours of the law as long as their party is in power.

This won’t be good for the government, our democracy, and definitely not good for the larger Ghanaian society.

Rose K.

For further details see: Reference

CITI FM, http://citifmonline.com/2017/10/19/delta-force-13-walk-free-after-paying-ghc23-400-fine/

What Are Human Rights?

What Are Human Rights? published on

top2What Are Human Rights?

Human rights are rights that belong to everyone no matter who they are or where they come from. They are very important to every individual, group and society.

Get to know a bit more about your human rights and responsibilities. It is only through full knowledge of our human rights that we can ensure true peace and security in our communities and the larger society . So get involved in promoting human rights through human rights education in Ghana so that others too can know their rights.

WIH

Protect Human Dignity

Protect Human Dignity published on

top2Special Focus On Human Life, Dignity And Worth

Do you know that Major Maxwell Mahama (the soldier killed by mob attack) had the power and means to defend himself but chose not to just to preserve human lives?  For me, it is beyond my limited human understanding. He had a gun on him but he didn’t use it on his attackers because he valued the dignity and sanctity of human life, no matter whose it was!  What a sacrifice!! May his soul rest in perfect peace!!!

Now, following the burial of our hero, Capt. now Major Maxwell Mahama earlier today, we must begin to learn the key lessons his sacrificial death was meant to teach us as a people. So then, “Never again” must not just become mere words that will vanish in few days.

It’s time to know that we are all born to be each other’s keeper – to defender and protector each other. It’s time to know we are obligated to respect and ensure the realization of the dignity and worth of others for our own peace and security.

The very first paragraph of the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) made this quite clear. It states, the “RECOGNITION of the inherent DIGNITY and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

All of us humans are “born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” – so says article #1 of the UDHR.

All the legal provisions on human rights, such as: right to life, no torture, no discrimination, no slavery, no unfair detainment, right to trial, always innocent till proven guilty and others, all exist to give true meaning to the dignity and worth of each member of the human family, be it young or old, black or white, rich or poor, weak or strong.

Indeed one of the first human rights principles we teach young people in our human rights education programmes is the principle of Individual Responsibility in the defence and protection of the dignity and worth of every other person. We all have a duty to other people both individually and collectively.  We have a duty to protect the rights and freedoms of other people wherever and whenever the need arises, and we should always do so.

The good book, the Bible commands us to treat others as we would want to be treated. To do for others as we would want them to do for us (see Mathew 7:12). How can you look on while your fellow human being is being attacked without feeling the need to help in anyway? He who witnesses wrong doing and does nothing about it perhaps due to fear, is equally guilty of wrong doing.

So my humble advice to you is: don’t engage in acts of mob justice and lawlessness. Don’t incite mob justice against anyone. Don’t take the law into your own hands – you never know where it will land you. And above all, don’t be unconcerned about the suffering and plights of others. Always try to do something no matter how small, to stop injustice and wrong doing wherever it is taking place if it’s in your power to do so.

Let’s all decide to be there for each other and defend and protect the dignity and worth of human life wherever we find ourselves.

Post written by: Rosemary Kayi

 

END ACTS OF LAWLESSNESS IN GHANA

END ACTS OF LAWLESSNESS IN GHANA published on

top2 The Order of the Day: Boomerangs & Wrong Precedents

We wish to express our condolences to the family of Captain Maxwell Mahama, the army officer who was lynched and burnt to death by angry youth of Denkyra-Obuasi in the central region.  The unfortunate gruesome killing of this Army officer brings to mind the kind of acts of widespread lawlessness that we’ve been witnessing around the country since power changed hands after the 2016 general elections.

Capt Maxwell Mahama Lynched by Mob
Capt Maxwell Mahama Lynched by Mob

When several ordinary innocent citizens were attacked by political vigilantes most people kept quiet. Today everybody is outraged at the barbaric acts of those villagers who murdered Captain Maxwell Mahama. But when these things first started, with attacks on innocent workers at NHIS offices and toll booths nobody cared much about the plight of the affected victims nor were the perpetrators brought to book. This was simply because the victims were just ordinary citizens.   It was only when the judiciary was attacked in Kumasi that people started asking questions; even then, the perpetrators were recently set free for lack of evidence.

Is Ghana still operating under the rule of law, where everyone is supposed to be equal before the law?

This kind of happenings in the country is a cause of worry for us at Stand Ghana and should be for all well-meaning Ghanaians.  When impunity becomes the order of the day what can ordinary vulnerable citizens do?

My former Political Science Lecturer Prof. Mike Aaron Ocquaye (now the speaker of parliament) used to tell us that, policies and actions always boomerang – explaining how Nkrumah’s Preventive Detention Act (PDA) boomeranged against his own ministers some of who ended up being sent to jail by the same PDA.

When political vigilante groups were misbehaving against ordinary citizens and abusing their rights and nothing was done others are emboldened to engage in similar acts.  Now it’s the military that is at the receiving end! This is highly unacceptable in a democracy. And it must be stopped. Because, our peace and security is at stake.

What kind of precedents and standards are we setting for tomorrow? Is it one of abuse of power, sacking of public service workers with impunity, discrimination, lawlessness and the like? Let’s be honest. Is this the kind of society we want to build?

The executive, legislators, media, civil society and all other actors within the state must remember that the actions being taken and policies they make today are all setting PRECEDENTS for the future.

That is why we are calling on all, not just the authorities, that we should all be very careful and circumspect in our dealings with our fellow human beings. Let everyone be treated with decorum and respect.  And as responsible citizens, we should also be careful the kind of actions and policies we support simply because we think it’s meant for our opponents. Because, whatever we do today will boomerang whether we like it or not.

Post Written By: Rosemary Kayi

Mothers’ Day & Women’s Rights

Mothers’ Day & Women’s Rights published on

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

 

Happy mothers’ day to all the hard working mothers of the human family!

On the occasion of International Mothers’ Day, we wish to congratulate all mothers for their dedication, their sacrifice, their commitment, their love and their nurturing role for the good and survival of the human family. Indeed, we all owe our lives to a mother and their worth can never be quantified – Well done mothers of the world!

We are using this opportunity to call attention to the plight of trainee nurses who have been victimised for motherhood  here in Ghana. It is wrong and absolutely unacceptable that women are still suffering discrimination even though there are laws against such acts.

Three female students of the Mampong Nurses & Midwifery Training School in the Ashianti Region of Ghana were barred from writing their nursing qualifying exams due to pregnancy, when even JHS students are being allowed to write their BECE with pregnancy.

It must be noted that discrimination on any grounds is a violation of human right. Every person in Ghana is entitled to enjoy his or her human rights and freedoms including right to education, without any distinction of any kind such as gender.

Discrimination is prohibited in article two of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article 17 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.  Our constitution emphatically says “A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender…” – (Article 17 clause (2). So it is wrong to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy.

We therefore add our voices to the call on the relevant authorities – The Nurses’ Council of Ghana and the Ministry of Education to quickly address this anomaly once and for all to ensure it does not happen to any other female student in Ghana.

Human Rights Awareness Outreach – Maclean JHS Odorkor

Human Rights Awareness Outreach – Maclean JHS Odorkor published on

 Child Rights, Responsibilities & Action

2017-03-30 060Stand Ghana held another very successful and empowering Human Rights Symposium on Child Rights, Responsibilities & Action; for the form three students of McLean JHS – Odorkor in Accra on Thursday 30th March 2017.

The key objective of this very important outreach programme was to ensure young people are knowledgeable about the full range and content of their fundamental human rights as stated in the Child Rights Convention.

It was also aimed at encouraging young people to respect law and order in society; appreciate and respect the rights of their mates and other people; and helping them grow into responsible adults in future

MC16The over eighty (80) students and some of their teachers who took part in the programme were educated on their basic human rights, responsibilities as children and how to take action to promote and defend human rights in their various communities and homes.

There was also open discussion on types of child abuse, their impact on children, how to report abuse cases, as well as the need to fight against all forms of violations and abuses using human rights provisions and laws.

MC3The students who were mainly JHS Three students actively participated and made valuable contributions to the discussion. They were eager to know more and even shouted “we want more – we want more” when it was time to end the programme! Well done Maclean JHS Three students!!

Participants were encouraged to become ambassadors of human rights in their diverse communities by spreading the word and standing up for human rights whenever necessary.

They were therefore instructed on how to take action for human rights, to empathise with victims of abuse and report cases of human rights abuses and violations to the appropriate authorities in order to make human rights provisions in the constitution meaningful to everyone in Ghana.

According to the Executive Director of Stand Ghana, Ms Rose-Mary Kayi: “A lot of misapprehensions surround the truth about what human rights really are, and we all need to spread the word that human rights are not non-sense or some needless western/foreign imposition! They are necessary for building a more peaceful and progressive democratic society”

MC JHSThe Stand Ghana team later had a Straight Talk Session with the girls after the human rights lecture. This was a mentoring and empowerment session designed to inspire young girls to become positive minded and focused on their studies.

The young girls were encouraged to be smart and have ambition for the future; have a mind set for excellence, and be very determined so as to become very useful to themselves, their families and the larger society tomorrow.

MC5The boys were not left out, as Mr Eyram Adzim a Human Rights Advocate for young people and a volunteer at Stand Ghana also had a Straight Talk Session with the male students. Among others, he strongly cautioned them to “avoid bad company – now, when they get to Senior High, as well as at the university”.

By this, Stand Ghana is catching them young and influencing the future of Ghana positively through human rights education and awareness creation activities.

By Rose-Mary Kayi

 



MORE PHOTOS FROM THE PROGRAMME

 

2017-03-30 0052017-03-30 0182017-03-30 0712017-03-30 0332017-03-30 0552017-03-30 029MC 22017-03-30 0592017-03-30 0492017-03-30 0062017-03-30 0512017-03-30 0992017-03-30 0952017-03-30 0472017-03-30 081WP_20170330_09_30_02_Pro - CopyMC92017-03-30 072

Right To Education

Right To Education published on

The Experience of Ghanaian Children

Parental poverty seems to be the main impediment to children’s Right to free Primary Education in Ghana, as many children still do not attend school due to lack of basic necessities and learning materials.

The Stand Ghana team has been informed that even some of the children in school are there at a heavy price since a number of them are compelled to engage in negative practices such as sleeping with men for money in order to be in school.

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that primary education should be made free; similarly, the Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted in 1989 by the UN General Assembly and came into force on 2nd September 1990, also affirms that primary education must be made available free to all.

The reality however is that although each child supposedly has the right to free primary education in Ghana, many children, especially those from very poor families are still not able to enjoy this right even when they are not expected to pay fees.

The reason Art 28 (1a) of the Child Right Convention requires states parties to make primary education compulsory and available free to all, is to ensure children of school going age are really in school for proper formation and development of their personalities. Yet this objective is sadly far from reality in many communities.

Ghana was one of the first to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Ghana ratified this convention on 5th February, 1990).  As a result, primary pupils in public schools do not pay tuition fees. Even though this is laudable, the fact remains that many children still do not attend school due to lack of financial support.

Our interactions with some parents and teachers indicate that the real cost of getting a child through primary school is not payment of tuition fees, but the numerous expenses parents make to get the child ready for school.

For example, aside tuition fees, parents have to provide school uniforms, note books, exercise books, pens, other learning materials, as well as PTA dues just to name a few.

In addition, parents also have the responsibility to ensure their children’s basic needs such as prescribed shoes. socks and underwear for example, are provided regularly. This is a huge responsibility for many urban poor and rural farmers in Ghana today.

Many parents and guardians said they are unable to bear the cost of educational materials and what it takes to get their children to school daily due to financial constraints. This is particularly true of rural communities where most parents and guardians depend on extremely scanty incomes from subsistence farming.

We are reliably informed that to be in school, some JHS girls are forced to sleep with men for money to buy pads for their menses – otherwise they will have to stay at home.

This issue came to light again at one of our human rights educational events on child rights and responsibilities. The PTA chairman lamented about the fact that some of the JHS girls were no longer spending the night with their parents but with men and were going to school straight from the men’s homes instead of their parents’; and this is affecting their performance in class.

When asked during our interaction with them whether the PTA chairman’s allegations were true, the children said yes.

We are alarmed and deeply worried about this development considering the possible negative impacts on these girls  – such as the risk of sexual violence, getting sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies which could eventually lead to their dropping out of school and destroying their future.

We have to remember that by preventing children from going to school due to poverty, we are preventing them from having a better future and being useful to society.

There‘s no doubt that poverty is a major challenge to a child’s right to education; and unless the issue is properly tackled, the right to free primary education will remain a mirage for many children.

We call on government and other stakeholders to step-up more on the agenda of poverty alleviation. We urgently need to tackle severe poverty in Ghana head-on and genuinely. Only then can we truly talk about the right to free primary education for all Ghanaian children.

 

By Rose-Mary Kayi

 

 

 

 

 

Improving Society Through Human Rights Education

Improving Society Through Human Rights Education published on

Empowering Young People and Changing Ghana Through Human Rights

Students of Hlefi JHS to learn about their Human Rights
Students of Hlefi JHS Enthusiastic to Learn About Their Human Rights

Our human rights education session at Hlefi JHS was a very successful one considering the many words and messages of appreciation received from parents, teachers and the students after the event.

The children were very enthusiastic to learn about their human rights, and agree to serve as advocates for other students who were not at the event.

The event also afforded members of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) present, the opportunity to learn more about their responsibilities towards their children.

We were even invited by the PTA chairman and one of the chiefs of the area to come again and organize another one purposely for parents in the community as they need to know about the human rights of their children.

It is often said that knowledge is power. Stand Ghana is empowering young people with human rights knowledge to act as agents of change in their communities and Ghana as a whole through human rights.

2016-05-18 0512016-05-18 017

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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