The Youth for Human Rights Africa (YoHRA), is demanding full-scale investigations into the alleged concealment of a defilement case, by the chief in Assin Addientem.
YoHRA wants a “well collaborated full-scale investigation by the Ghana Police Service and all other government agencies into the matter.”
A four-year-old girl is fighting for her life after she was defiled allegedly by a suspect she named as ‘Kwabena’ in the community on October 14, 2017.
Her mother, Monica Nyarko, reported the case to the village chief who later told her that the said Kwabena has been declared innocent by the gods, therefore, there is nothing he or anyone could do to him.
Videos captured by Joy News Maxwell Agbagba, who broke the news, show the four-year-old weak with bandages of the intravenous therapy still on her hand.
The perpetrator has been left to walk freely because Assin Fosu police claim her father, Isaac Kofi who first reported the matter, has not returned to the station to lead them to effect the suspect's arrest.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Wednesday, Divisional Police Commander, Chief Supt. Henry Bacho said the police are waiting to for father of the victim, to lead them to the village to arrest the named suspect.
But YoHRA in a statement issued Wednesday has condemned the act of concealment by the traditional rulers and has urged the state to take responsibility.
“Take over the responsibility of the rehabilitation of the victim and her caretaker (s) until she is of sound mind, stable, healthy and an independent adult,” the statement said.
Youth for Human Rights Africa (YoHRA) has learnt of attempts by some traditional authorities, in the name of tradition to undermine the jurisdiction of the Supreme Law of the land under which the institution of Chieftaincy derives its authority.
Media reports by JoyFM, an Accra based radio station and social media reveal an attempt by the Chiefs of Assin Fosu to conceal a crime of defilement, committed by a member of their community by freeing him with reason that the "gods" of the land do not find him guilty.
YoHRA wishes to remind the Chiefs of Assin Fosu that, the Jurisdiction of the Chieftaincy institution and it functions as succinctly prescribed in the 1992 constitution of Ghana, specifically Articles 270, 272 and 273 does not include settlement of serious matters such as crimes which are well codified in our Criminal Offenses Act, 1960 (Act 29) with prescribed sanctions. Any such attempt to oust the proper Jurisdiction of the courts in the name of some tradition is an illegality and a crime in itself.
Chiefs must NOT in the name of tradition and beliefs attempt to undermine the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND OR CONCEAL SERIOUS CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE AND VIOLATIONS OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF OTHERS AS PROTECTED BY LAW.
Article 12(1) and (2) of the Constitution of Ghana guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons in Ghana including children and obligates the state to uphold such rights.
The UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in Article 25(2) equally requires children to be given “special care and assistance”.
The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child also requires of us to ensure that children have special protection.
There is, therefore, an obligation on the state and government for that matter through appropriate state institutions and agencies to ensure full protection and safety of every child in Ghana.
Article 25 of UN Charter on Rights of a Child enjoins state Parties to recognize the rights of a child who has been placed by the competent authorities for the purposes of care, protection or treatment of his or her physical or mental health, to a periodic review of the treatment provided to the child and all other circumstances relevant to his or her placement.
Article 27 (1) (3) (4) of the UN CHARTER ON RIGHTS OF A CHILD clothes the state with responsibility towards the welfare, safety and security of the child.
3. State Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.
4. State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making of other appropriate arrangements.
As a nation it’s important that agencies like the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection take advantage of these reports, conduct investigations into the allegations and collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to bring perpetrators of this crimes to book which SHALL at the same time serve as a deterrent to others AND bring Justice to the Victim.
Youth for Human Rights Africa (YoHRA) is by this release condemning the act of concealment by the traditional rulers and seeking a WELL COLLABORATED FULL-SCALE INVESTIGATION BY THE GHANA POLICE SERVICE AND ALL OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES INTO THE MATTER.
We encourage the arrest of not only the perpetrator of the crime but the Chiefs as well.
The state MUST as a matter of urgency through social welfare and the ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection FULLY TAKE OVER THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE REHABILITATION OF THE VICTIM AND HER CARETAKER (S) UNTIL THE VICTIM IS OF SOUND MIND, STABLE, HEALTHY AND AN INDEPENDENT ADULT.
YoHRA will be left with no other option than to seek proper redress of the matter before the INTERNATIONAL COURTS should the state fail on it's obligation to the Victim.