The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Africa Office, has urged the Government to continue protecting, upholding, and safeguarding the dignity of all Ghanaians according to the 1992 Constitution.
The Organisation has also called on the State to hold personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), who invaded Ashaiman in a “search and arrest mission” over the murder of a soldier, accountable.
“They must be apprehended if any progress is to be made in regulating the use of force in law enforcement in this country. The GAF is not above the law and the silence of the State is deafening. Alas this is Ghana, where accountability of state actors is an extremely expensive commodity,” a statement issued by CHRI said.
It said the government, through its agent, the GAF, had “blatantly violated” the inviolable right to dignity of its citizens through the illegal manner in which the operation was carried out and condemned the human rights violations of the State.
The statement said the brutality meted out to inhabitants of some communities in Ashaiman by some soldiers on March 7, 2023, in response to the killing of a soldier, Imoro Sheriff, “was just not acceptable in a democracy such as Ghana touts itself to be. This is not to say that the killing of a soldier by civilians is acceptable under any circumstance.”
The statement said the Military “seemed to think that saying that the invasion was sanctioned made it acceptable for its men to behave in such an unruly manner.
“The statement received well deserved backlash from the public as videos and pictures of the incident which surfaced on social media told a different story. The military men actually came for blood and they held nothing back as they brutalized the residents, including children.”
“This uncontrolled act of violence, especially in retaliation is a well-known modus operandi of the Army…”
It said Mr Kwaku Amankwa Manu, the Deputy Minister of Defence, had told the media in an interview that the operation was based on intelligence and admitted to the excesses of the soldiers.
“It is common knowledge that operations based on intelligence are targeted. However, the soldiers were reported to have unleashed mayhem arbitrarily. Needless to say, duly sanctioned operations based on intelligence are supposed to be carried out according to due process and consideration of human rights of citizens,” it said.
The statement said the Minister’s apology was directed at the people he allegedly described as “decent and innocent” and depicted how poor treatment and human rights abuse of accused persons was justified by duty bearers.
It said even convicted criminals were to be treated with decency and should not be subjected to degrading treatment and torture.
The statement said according to the Convention Against Torture, the term “torture” meant any “act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person.”
“From the videos and pictures that surfaced, it is clear that the soldiers tortured the residents. The rampage was merciful to no one as women and children were also subjected to the beatings meted out.
“This inhumane and degrading treatment from the soldiers is contrary to the African Charter, the Convention against Torture among a host of other treaties condemning these actions, all of which Ghana is signatory to.”