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Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative condemns maltreatment of arrested persons

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Ms Mina Mensah, Programme Officer, Access to Justice of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), on Wednesday said human rights would be meaningless if people were not guaranteed an efficient and effective liberty and security.

Ms Mensah said many persons arrested by the police were made to suffer torture, prolonged detention, late trial and other inhuman treatment even before they are made to know the cause of their arrests.

She said this at a workshop organized by CHRI in Bolgatanga in the Upper East on the theme, “Promoting Police Accountability through public Awareness on the rights of arrested persons in Ghana”.

CHRI is an international non-governmental organization that seeks to ensure the practical realization of human rights across the commonwealth.

The workshop, which was attended by the Ghana Police Service, faith based organizations, NGOs, NCCE, Legal Aid, CHRAG and the media was sponsored by the Australian High Commission under its AusAid Human Rights Grants Scheme (HRGS).

Its objective was to build the capacity of those organizations with the hope that they would transfer the knowledge gained at the workshop to their various communities in order to increase public awareness of policing to enhance human rights awareness on the rights of arrested and detained persons.

It also aimed to inform Ghanaians about avenues available to them, to send their complaints to when their rights are breached to enable them defend them and increase local advocacy for police reform that would lead to democratic policing.

Ms Mensah said a major challenge confronting most West African countries was the problem of police arrests, delayed detention and torture without reasonable cause and blamed this on lack of knowledge and awareness to defend those rights.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Charles Obiri of the Upper East Regional Police Command appealed to police personnel to acknowledged human rights as a basic value for the Police Service and urged personnel to keep that in their mind when performing their duties.

He said arrested people needed to be informed of reason of arrest and charges against them before they are taken.

He said police personnel were not above the law and urged the public to report any misconduct   to their superiors and added that the Police Service had started an image cleansing exercise through a five-year strategic plan to serve as a road map for accountable policing and to erase the negative perception about the service.

Source: GNA

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