BY PHILIP ANTOH
THE CENTRE for Victims of Injustice (CenVI, GH) has condemned the alleged killing of a civilian at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region by a soldier on Monday April 6, 2020.
According to CenVI,GH, the alleged killing took place in the Ashaiman municipality by a soldier who was among a number of security men detailed to enforce the 14-day partial lockdown, which is part of the government’s measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A release signed by the Executive Director, Mr Felix Engsalige Nyaaba, said, “We call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to swiftly investigate the killing and give the appropriate sanction to the officer involved.
Mr Nyaaba said while the centre acknowledged the magnitude of the challenge and efforts made by the government to fight Covid-19 across the country, “we are also alarmed by several reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights, that include beating of civilians by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance of the lockdown.”
He stated that as the country observed the 14-day lockdown, the rights of citizens must be respected and protected, including the right to healthcare, security, and access to food and water.
Mr Nyaaba said the lockdown must have a human face; thus enabling citizens and the general public to have access to vital needs and relief for those who could no longer earn a living since majority of Ghanaians are daily income earners and live below the poverty line.
The Executive Director said as a matter of urgency, the government, in the coming days, should implement transparent income support programmes targeted at the most vulnerable populations.
“Millions of Ghanaians who live in slums and informal settlements without access to basic services are at higher risk of Covid-19 infection. We are of the view that the government should ensure the rights to health, food and water are realised in such settlements under this pandemic,” he stated.
He added the government has an obligation to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, especially persons living with disabilities and the homeless (such as kayayei, street dwellers et al), have sufficient access to the services needed to give them the best chance of survival.
This, Mr Nyaaba said, should include access to health services and facilities and the provision of emergency shelters, especially at where they needed to allow homeless people to be taken care of in this difficult times.
He said reports going rounds in some parts of the country on shortages of vital personal protective equipment for frontline and other health workers were worrying and could have tragic consequences during the response to the coronavirus crisis.
“As they join the fight against coronavirus, these frontline workers deserve immediate attention and the government must urgently put in place measures that protect their rights to health and minimise their risk of contracting the disease.”
He said the government should ensure that good-quality personal protective equipment, information, training and psychosocial support were urgently put at the disposal of nurses, doctors and other response staff during the unfolding crisis.
CenVI, GH, in addition, called on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to use every option available to increase the production or procurement and supply of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other vital healthcare equipment to equip the health workers.
Mr Nyaaba said there should be a drastic increase in mass testing for Covid-19 in every region of Ghana.
He said the scale and deadly nature of the pandemic which has spread across the globe had made it necessary for governments, faith-based groups and individuals to implement extraordinary measures.
“But with collective efforts, the chance to curb the spread of the pandemic in Ghana is very high and we must all get involved,” Mr Nyaaba stated.