CHRAJ reaffirms commitment to protect rights of citizens
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has stated that it is the right of citizens to protest and demonstrate as a way of expressing their concerns and displeasure with government policies.
"It is their right to collectively and physically come onto a street, walk around and express their discomfort about some governmental issues.
It is a right given to them by their ancestors and captured in the Constitution.
It is better than hiding on social media and sending tweets,” it said.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic after the management and staff had undertaken a health walk, the Commissioner, Joseph Whittal, said “Citizens should not be seen as troublemakers when they embark on protests.”
He, however, said such rights to demonstrate had a limit.
"When you go into the streets and the police decide that they are not comfortable with where you are going, there should be a balance of legitimate interests for national security and other considerations and our right to demonstrate and articulate what we feel about social policies and other matters,” he stated.
"This is important because there will always be protesters and demonstrators.
So I will urge the Ghana Police Service and other agencies to appreciate these people and know how to handle them.
Ghana lives in an international community, so such behaviour sends an unfortunate signal to the international community and I don't think that is what we want to do," he said.
The walk, which formed part of activities to enhance the commission’s visibility and create awareness of its 30th anniversary celebration, was to reiterate the commission's commitment to promote and protect human rights.
Christened “CHRAJ at 30: Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in Public Service Delivery", the walk afforded the public an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the work of the commission.
Staff of the commission in the Greater Accra Region, in their branded T-shirts, distributed leaflets to educate the public amid cheerful songs accompanied by brass band music and a Public Address (PA) system.
The participants displayed placards with inscriptions such as, “Our services are free!”, “Ensuring effective and efficient public service delivery”, “vision and mission to become reality, and not a mirage”, “Promoting and protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms in Ghana”, “Fostering transparency and accountability in Ghana”, “know your rights, report corruption now,” and “report injustice today!”
Mr Whittal called on the citizenry to uphold human rights, transparency and accountability as essential pillars of a just and equitable society.
He said the health walk was a signal to the public that good health was an important human right, hence the need for the governments to appreciate the importance of good health.
“For the 30 years in existence, the commission has received about 300,000 complaints on a mixture of human rights, administrative justice and corruption.
The commission’s concern is to see that some critical issues brought before government and Parliament are implemented and dealt with.
“So these are some of the reasons why we are calling for the passage of the Conduct of Public Officers Bill to hold public officers accountable to the citizens in the performance of their functions in so many areas of assets declaration on conflict of interest and providing sanctions,” he added.