Recent News (916)
We draw attention to a rising canker in our society today which sets us back as a country; mob justice1.
Though not a recent phenomenon, this barbaric, backward and dehumanising attitude seem to be rearing it head and becoming rampant in our society. And we believe that if immediate measures are not taken to address this, it will grow to an unbearable state which will mar our image as a peace loving and democratic.
With social media and smart equipment available today, such instances are easily recorded and shared across the world. A mob action against a suspected criminal recorded in Ghana can be accessed by another person in any part of the world in seconds once that video finds its way onto the internet.
HRAC is concerned about the rise in mob justice and physical violence against suspected offenders in Ghana. Some members of the Ghanaian community in their ignorance of the law and personal prejudices lynch or physically abuse their suspects. This is illegal, contravenes the very essence of Ghana’s believe in freedom and justice and our commitment to the respect of fundamental human rights which is a base in our culture and traditions in Ghana. Physically abusing someone on mere suspicion is not right.
As Ghanaians our diverse religious, traditional and cultural beliefs expounds love for one another, respect for others, neighbourliness, tolerance and respect for difference. It is therefore against our own
Foundations as Ghanaians to brutalise any person for any reason especially
1 When a large angry mob takes justice into their own hands. Usually ends with somebody getting hanged, torched or pitchfork'd. A common method of dispensing justice in the more rural areas of a country.
because they express a different belief from us or we suspect them of committing one offence or another.
The recent attempted mob justice against the two boys at the St. Paul’s Senior Secondary School in Denu, the report of a boy who was beaten up by his seniors at Akosombo International School2 and the abuse and robbery of Albert Appiah aka Kinto; all cases of suspected homosexual activity is worth noting.
Article 15(1) of the 1992 Constitution provides that the dignity of every individual found in Ghana is inviolable, in other words, no person’s dignity can be tempered with in Ghana. Article 19 (2) (c) also states that no person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to - (a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.
Article 19 (2) (c) declares a person charged of a crime innocent until proven guilty or pleads guilty before a competent court of law.
Ghana is bound by various international instruments including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Ghanaians are protected regardless of who they are, what they believe or their chosen lifestyle. Therefore there is the need for government, civil society and the security service to work towards the protection and realisation of these rights.
Many Ghanaians have based the argument for mob justice on the mistrust and slow nature of our police and justice systems. True as this may be, we do not accept that the answer to this is mob justice. Personal prejudice, hearsay and misunderstanding of the criminal justice system also fuel the
rise of mob justice.
2 Daily Guide, Friday 13th February, 2015, Issue 034/15, Front Page and page 3
To this end, HRAC calls on all stakeholders to play their role in addressing this inhumane attitude of some Ghanaians who dispense instance justice causing the death or permanent defect on victims.
We call on the Ghana Police Service to be proactive in addressing reported offences and look forward to the rapid production of a fair investigative report by the Ghana Police Service on the St. Paul’s Senior Secondary School mob incident. The courts should also ensure expeditious trial of cases so as to whip up public confidence in the judiciary. There is also the need for active co-operation among the key institutions of justice; the
Bench, Bar, Police and witnesses.
We also need to have a critical look at the Criminal Procedure Code with
the view to ensure speedy trial.
HRAC encourage CHRAJ, NCCE and human rights CSO to increase public education on the need for individuals to report suspected crimes to the
police for investigation.
Ghanaians should desist from abusing people they suspect to be homosexuals. If anyone has reason to believe an individual has committed the crime of unnatural carnal knowledge as prescribed by the Criminal Offences Act (Act 29), we encourage that individual to report to the nearest police station. No one has the right to lynch or abuse homosexuals
because it is against the laws of Ghana.
Ghana is a peace loving, democratic, human rights complaint country. The only way we can exist and continue to enjoy such appellations from the international community we need to protect everyone, including homosexuals.