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General News of Monday, 4 September 2017


Ignorance is Africa’s greatest tragedy – Lawyer Sosu

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Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, Founding Member & President of Youth for Human Rights Africa (YoHRA), has drawn a symmetry between illiteracy and human rights abuses in Africa and the urgent need for reforms to make education a priority in request for promoting civil liberties and rights.

Speaking at the annual Human Rights Summit in New York, he bemoaned the fact that although Africa is blessed with a lot of resources, it is saddled with high human rights violations. Out of a population of about 1.2 billion, illiteracy rate is 64%. About 33 million “out-of-school” children live in Africa.

Again, he noted that more than 125 million girls and women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and circumcision in Africa and the Middle East.

“This is a clear instance of human rights violation that can be associated with low literacy rates and misconceptions, among others.”

At the heels of this worrying trend , according to the human rights lawyer, is a “governance crises finding expression in political corruption, fake democracies with shame elections, naked abuse of power, weak institutions, child trafficking, child labour, child prostitution, continuous discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation, among many others, are very high on the African continent.”

He mentioned Togo, for example, which is at the brink of civil uprising due to a 50-year political dynasty. In a protest last week, people lost their lives and many others [got] brutalised and injured.

“Why should people lose their lives in the course of demanding for respect of their will, liberties and freedoms?” he queried. He, therefore, emphasised the need for the youth in Africa to rise to the occasion to win the war against ignorance.

“The youth of Africa must arise. We must win this war against ignorance and poverty and deprivation in Africa. It will not be easy because human rights promoters and defenders are persecuted in systems where corruption abounds, and I have been a victim of that in Ghana as a human rights lawyer. But when we stand together, we can win this war.”

YoHRA, he said, seeks to make human rights a priority in Africa through Human rights education using local dialects in promoting National, Regional, African and United Nation’s Human Rights Instruments on local community platforms.

“Through our partner project, Treasure of Life Foundation (TLF), Ghana and USA, which is led in the USA by Jeff Woodard and Angie Sutherland May, we will also reach out to the victims of human rights abuse and violations and, to a larger extent, the vulnerable with love, care,”

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