Lockdown: Human Rights Abuses and Violations

Greetings Mr President,

Government must not allow the extraordinary circumstances and restrictions measures against Covid-19 to lead to the violation of citizen’s right to a life free from violence.

Our security personnel deplored to Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa, should respect the rights of those who abuse the restrictions order and those they arrest for violating the order. Any maltreatment should be immediately investigated, and the personnel and commanders held responsible and be appropriately disciplined or prosecuted.

Mr President, while government needs to protect the health and welfare of the people, any intervention must be in line with international human rights standard, including prohibition against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of people who abuse your directives. We have started seeing security officers captured in Mobil phone footage whacking people with baton which is not right. We have started receiving testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses and video footages showing security officers gleefully assaulting members of the public in the zoned areas. Even some health workers and providers of essential services who are exempted from the lock down reported being intimidated by the security officers as they return or move to the their homes or places of work.

Mr President, you must ensure that the inhuman treatment and use of brute force be replaced by people friendly measures in battling the pandemic. Your government’s responsibility to protect Ghanaians from the outbreak should not come at the cost of human rights violations.

Mr President, restrictive measures adopted in the zoned areas is likely to intensify the risk of domestic violence. Government must uphold the human rights of women and children and come out with urgent measures to protect victims of such violence. In Rwanda, it is alleged that two civilians were shot dead for defying the new measures, in Zimbabwe, police officers are mishandling citizens. Ghanaians are not hostile. They will not go against the security officers and will not resist them. This is the time to save lives and not to violate the rights of people under the guise of checking abusers. People who deliberately do wrong things during the lock down must face the wrath of the state, but the security officers should not do anything that would violate the rights of residents, either by mistake or intentionally. Ghanaians will ultimately blame you for the excesses because these officers are acting upon your orders. This is the first time the state is introducing these stringent regulations since the military days hence, the need for calmness and cooperation from both the citizens and the security operatives.

Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow 

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