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General News of Monday, 27 August 2007

Source: GYE NYAME CONCORD

Police attacked for human rights abuses

A RENOWNED HUMAN rights advocate, Nana Oye Lithur, has blamed the police administration for what she termed consistent pattern of police brutalities on civilians in the country, saying such unprofessional and unconstitutional acts are in violation of the rights of the victims.

She expressed deep concern on the continuous manhandling and mistreatment of people by police personnel, adding that the violation of the rights of the citizens by the police, an institution mandated by the 1992 Constitution to protect the people, calls for much concern.

According to the Africa Regional Office Coordinator for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the police administration has woefully failed to inculcate in its personnel, through their training and orientation, the rights of the citizens and the need to respect and protect such rights of the people they serve.

Nana Oye Lithur said this at the Journalists for Human Rights Editors and Media Managers Workshop in Accra last Friday.

Speaking under the topic; Current Human Rights Issues in Ghana, she noted that despite extensive human rights guarantees by the country's 1992 Constitution and various efforts by government to protect the rights of the people, there has been consistent human rights abuses in the country citing police brutalities, indecent assaults, poor victim supports, forced evictions, boys being defiled etc.

In reaction, Acting Public Affairs Director of the Ghana Police Service, DSP Kwasi Ofori, noted that the issue of police brutalities on civilians and for that matter the abuse of the rights of civilians by police personnel is a major concern to the current police administration.

As a result, he maintained that right at the beginning of his tenure, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Patrick K Acheampong, revised the police training curricula and infused courses such as Democratic Policing, Human Rights & Related Ethical Policing etc, to ensure that personnel of the Service come out of their training well informed about human rights issues so as to ensure that officers execute their duties and responsibilities professionally.

Again, he said the IGP has cautioned his men and women to highly respect the rights of all manner of persons, including suspects, since according to the IGP; it is an offence for police personnel to be involved in cases of inhuman treatment and torturing of members of the public.

DSP Kwasi Ofori emphasised the IGP's caution to his officers and men that the current police administration would not entertain any acts on the part of personnel that will amount to the abuse of the rights of people.

Over the years cases of police brutalities on civilians have been consistent with most of these unfortunate situations having led to the death of civilians while others have also suffered various forms of abuses.

Just recently, some police personnel in Kumasi assaulted and detained a reporter from Luv FM, a private radio station in that metropolis for very strange reasons.

There are also the cases of the four persons who were shot and killed by police officers at Dansoman Estates in Accra and the shooting and killing of a 26-year-old man on May 19, 2006 at Kotobabi after mistaking him for one of the robbers they were seeking.

The 1992 Constitution highly provides for the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people and therefore tasks the President and his Vice, Ministers, Parliament, Judges and the Courts, government agencies and their officials to observe and promote them.

The Constitution mandates the police to promote and observe the fundamental human rights of all citizens of this country.

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