The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an international NGO has donated assorted Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to some Police Stations in Accra and Kumasi.
The stations that benefitted in Accra are Odorkor, Madina, Dansoman, Nima, La, Tesano and Sakumono Police Stations and Stations in Kumasi Asokwa, Suame, Zongo Central and Tafo Police Stations, among others.
Items donated are bottles of mineral water, bags of Sachet water, boxes and bags of washing powder, nose masks and packs of T-roll.
Madam Mina Mensah, the Executive Director of CHRI, told the Ghana News Agency that the donation forms part of the CHRI’s project titled “Increasing Advocacy for the Decriminalization of Petty Offences through COVID-19 Response Interventions” with support from the Open Society Foundation for West Africa.
She said this would help the police and inmates know that it was not just the reforms but “we are also concerned about their health.”
Madam Mensah said overcrowding was a key problem, so they thought that it would be good to put some reforms into practice, where they support Police Stations and Prisons with PPES and detergents to ensure those places are disinfected and clean.
She said the CHRI works for the practical realisation of human rights throughout the Commonwealth and it also advocates better respect for, protection and promotion of international human rights standards.
She said CHIR has been advocating the decriminalising of petty offences as part of its access to justice work.
She said the call by the CHRI and other stakeholders to decriminalize petty offences and to also release prisoners with petty offences to decongest the overcrowded prisons has become more important than ever with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Esther Ahulu, the Programme Manager, CHRI said this year’s Human Rights Day on the theme “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights” related to the COVID-19 pandemic and it focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights were central to the global pandemic recovery efforts.
She the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic places prisoners and staff at a greater risk.
“Persons deprived of their liberty face higher vulnerabilities as the spread of the virus can expand rapidly due to the high concentration of persons in confined spaces and restricted access to hygiene and healthcare in some contexts,” she added.
Madam Ahulu said the State has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the prisons environment was clean and safe to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19.
However, the State could not do it all and therefore humanitarian efforts were very much needed to compliments government efforts.
DSP Kingsford Yaw Appiah, Odorkor District Police Commander, expressed gratitude to the Management of CHRI for their support in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.