Human rights advocate urges Ghanaians to kick against torture

Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate on Friday called on the public to speak against torture, which is pervasive in the Ghanaian society.

He said torture of children in Ghana was real and distractive therefore attempts should be made to treat children humanely and efforts made to eliminate torture in the society.

Professor Agyemang Attafuah made the call at a symposium to mark this year’s United Nations (UN) International Day in support of torture victims in Accra.

The symposium on the theme: “Torture: Negation of Human Rights and Dignity” was attended by students from the Roman Catholic Junior High School in Accra, Chemu Secondary School from Tema, Accra Polytechnic, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the public.

Prof. Agyemang Attafuah explained that torture involved the infliction of pain and suffering on the victim and negates the dignity and human rights of children.

He said torture is pervasive in contemporary human desires and frequent perpetuation of the act was mostly by parents and guardians.

Prof. Agyemang Attafuah said corporal punishment is a form of torture in children and juveniles should not be subjected to that penalty.

“Even though parents should be able to punish children for going wayward they should do it lawfully,” he added.

Mr Lawrence Amesu, Director, Amnesty International, Ghana, speaking on the topic: “Abolition of the Death Penalty in Ghana: Prospects and Challenges” urged human rights advocates and CSOs to pressurize the government to abolish death penalty.

He said while no death row prisoner had been executed since 1993, death sentences continued to be imposed, and indicated that since December 2010 the Ghana Prisons Service received 123 prisoners out of which three were women waiting to be executed.

Mr Amesu said even though it was heart-warming that Ghana was considered an abolitionist in practice because there had not been any execution since 1993 the death sentences continued to be passed and death penalty remained in the law books.

He said although most human rights activists would welcome the abolition of the death penalty, the entrenched provision in the 1992 Constitution makes the process of repealing a bit cumbersome and difficult.

Mr Amesu said the understanding of most Ghanaians was that the death penalty was mainly for armed robbers.

He noted that members of the 1992 Constitutional Review Commission appeared to be divided on their opinions about the retention or abolition of the death penalty, adding that the diverse views of retentionists and abolitionists cut across various strata of society.

Mr Amesu said even within the civil society that was championing the cause of abolition the understanding of the death penalty situation was varied.

Source: GNA

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