Journalists urged to focus on human rights reporting

witch-camp-1Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu Saani, Deputy Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, has appealed to journalists to pay more attention to reporting on human rights issues to ensure the adequate protection of such rights.

He said many civil society organizations and journalists had not paid much attention to human rights issues, resulting in the neglect and abuse of people’s rights often with impunity.

Alhaji Saani was addressing journalists in Tamale at the opening of a two-day workshop on human rights organized by ActionAid Ghana, a human rights focused non-governmental organization.

He said rights were basic and fundamental, which entailed correlative duties of other people or groups to act or refrain from acting in ways required for the right-holders, stressing that a school-going age child has the valid right to education.

Alhaji Saani said human rights were universal legal guarantees protecting individuals and groups against actions and omissions that interfered with fundamental freedoms, entitlements and human dignity, which obliged government and other duty-bearers to do certain things and prevent them from doing to others.

“AAG believes that rights and responsibilities of people living in poverty can be realized through sustained and purposeful conscientization of individuals living in poverty and their organizations, supported by effective alliances and the creation of concrete alternatives that challenge and address structural causes and consequences of poverty”, he said.

Madam Esther Boateng, Northern Regional  Programme Manager of AAG, said the NGO had planned to improve the livelihoods of about 5,100 small holder rural women farmers starting from 2012 to 2017.

This is to ensure that they have access to land, improve the food security of about 68,980 small-holder farmers through secured access to extension services, and direct support and policies to promote climate-resilient sustainable agriculture

She said it would secure improvements in the quality, equity and gender responsiveness of public services for 31,070 people living in poverty, noting that over 15,300 youth would take sustained action towards building a nation that protects, respects, promotes and fulfils the rights of  people living in poverty.

Madam Boateng said human rights based approach required attention to both outcome and processes, which requires certain level of skills and resources and those inadequate resources for the effective functioning of bodies constituted to effect policies and legal change.

She mentioned one of the challenges facing the NGO as difficulty in engaging government on some critical rights violations due to the unjusticeable nature those rights in the constitution were contrary to rights-based approaches, adding that rights holders have not driven the agenda for collective struggle for change as expected.

Source: GNA

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