Support our efforts to end human rights abuses in Ghana – Amnesty International charges Human Rights Reporters Ghana
Human Rights organization, Amnesty International Ghana (AIG) has charged members of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) to help corroborate its efforts in abolishing death penalty from Ghana’s constitution.
The National Campaign Coordinator of AIG, Mr. Samuel Agbotsey made the call while addressing a zonal meeting organized by his outfit to sensitize members on strategies to adopt towards achieving organizational objectives.
The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), is an advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) serving as a critical voice to the voiceless in the fight against all forms of abuse that threatens the freedom and fundamental human rights of Ghanaians particular women, girls and children. It is made up of a combine group of journalists, lawyers and human rights activists who are committed to defending and protecting human rights of people in Ghana and beyond.
The meeting was held at the plush Bethel Heights Hotel located at Madina Zongo, a suburb of Accra. It brought together leaders of various groups together with some members who form part of the Madina Zone of the Amnesty International Ghana.
At the event, various national officers took turn to address participants who are mostly students drawn from tertiary institutions within the Greater Accra Region on the need to take positive actions and defend the rights of ordinary citizens whose rights are being infringed upon daily without hope of getting justice.
Mrs. Hannah Osei, National Coordinator at the Amnesty International Ghana in charge of Human Rights Education and Activism urges participants to make it a habit to always educate others on issues of human rights abuses wherever they find themselves.
According to her, if people are well informed about issues concerning their freedom and fundamental human rights, they will stand up for themselves to resist any attempt aimed at violating them.
She cautions all members including the Ghanaian youth to embrace strong online activism backed by action to demand justice for the numerous voiceless people not only in Ghana but around the world whose rights are being trampled upon on daily basis.
On his part, the Growth and Mobilization Manager at Amnesty International Ghana, Mr. Frank Doyi maintained that it is very crucial for the organization’s local groups to grow in number and size, owing to the magnitude of work at hand.
He added that Amnesty’s role is of relevance in the lives of Ghanaians as far as defending the rights of people are concerned and therefore called for massive support of members to help create more groups to increase membership in order to meet the organization’s objectives.
Delivering his speech, the National Campaign and Fundraising Coordinator of the Amnesty International Ghana, Mr. Samuel Agbotsey expressed displeasure about the attitude of Ghana, not making any progress at all in the fight against the abolishment of death penalty.
Recounting his experience about the 7th World Congress Against Death Penalty recently held in Brussels from February 26th to March 1, 2019 which he happened to be the only Ghanaian in attendance, he disclosed he felt so sad and questioned the kind of commitment government is making to eliminate the death penalty from the country’s constitution.
From his account, he noted the congress brought together 1, 800 abolitionists made up of community activists, lawyers, political leaders, diplomats, parliamentarians among others from all over the world of which some African countries including Benin, Senegal, Guinea and Burkina Faso were vividly represented in large numbers except Ghana.
“Other death penalty campaigners from other parts of the world especially west Africa, came with their Ministers, MPs, Ambassadors. They’ve had time to meet after the program, had a nice dinner and they talked about the progress they’re making in their various countries but for us the government is not even aware that there’s a congress”.
Juxtaposing Ghana’s progress and efforts with the likes of Guinea, Burkina Faso and other West African countries whose track records are impressive, the concerned Amnesty Campaign Coordinator wondered: “Ghana is a pacesetter in human rights, democracy and rule of law, what at all has come over us?”, adding “Now we have become the last”.
Death by killing people in whatever form for committing a crime is termed Death penalty. Ghana is an abolitionist in practice which means she has not carried execution since 1993 but yet a retentonist that still has death penalty in its law book. According to Amnesty International 2017 Global Death Penalty, Some Sub-Saharan African countries including Guinea and Kenya have abolished death penalty. As to whether Ghana will do same or not still remain a question without an answer.
But Mr. Agbotsey believes there’s hope for Ghana. According to him the only way through which Ghanaians can achieve result is to put pressure on the government to take the necessary action to abolish the death penalty.
He however admitted that, the task won’t be an easy one without the support of all and sundry and therefore appeal strongly to the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) to join forces with AI and corroborate its effort to mount pressure on government to completely abolish the death penalty from the country’s constitution.
“And my fellow journalists, reporters of human rights, we have work to do. You are our pen; you are going to be our mouth. That is what we want you to do for us. Let’s push the agenda”.
The over 50 participants who were present during the meeting have signed unto a petition to demand from Ivorian authorities, the immediate release of Soro Tangboho, alias Carton noir, an outspoken online activist who was arrested, detained and subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while live streaming a video on Facebook showing police officers who were alleged of extorting money from motorists.
Five (5) members of the Human Rights Reporters who attended the meeting have equally demonstrated similar commitment by signing unto the petition which was addressed to SansanKambilé, the Ivorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights to effect the release and also conduct an independent investigation into the allegations of torture meted out to Tangboho in detention and bring to book with speed anyone suspected to be responsible.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Reporters Ghana has also shown its commitment and readiness to support AIG to achieve its mandate while working towards attainment of its own as well.
By Joseph Kobla Wemakor|Human Rights Reporters Ghana