The Western Regional Director of Education, Felicia Okai, has debunked allegations that the Ghana Education Service is shielding teachers reported to have brutalised some 19 students of Annor Adjaye Senior High School.
In her disclaimer on Angel FM’s Anopa Bofo morning show, the Education Director said some of the teachers have been demoted in line with the institution’s code.
“According to our policy, no corporal punishment and so we relieved them [offending teachers] of their positions as first time offenders” said Madam Okai.
She noted that the the GES, following the corective measures taken, supported and approved of the punishment meted out to the teachers.
“They [GES] realised that the sanctions given were appropriate sanctions according to the code concerning corporal punishment for time offenders.”
This was disclosed after the Human Right Reporters Ghana, a human right advocacy group, alleged that some of the teachers were still at post despite efforts made to seek justice for the victims.
According to them the infliction of pain on the students was tantamount to torturing which needed to be dealt with according to the laws of the country.
“The use of torture is simply wicked, a crime and must be punished according to the laws of Ghana”, a statement issued by the organization in collaboration with like minded non-governmental organization, Action By Christians Against Torture (ACAT), dated June 26, 2022 said in part.
Below is the full statement issued by HRRG and ACAT:
HRRG, ACAT DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ANNOR ADJAYE STUDENTS MERCILESSLY FLOGGED BY TEACHERS
The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) in commemoration of the this year’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture has joined forces with the Action By Christians Against Torture (ACAT) to show support and sympathy to all victims of various crimes of torture across the world, especially in Africa and Ghana for that matter.
Together in our actions as a vibrant rights organizations operating in Ghana and beyond, we remain absolute in our outright condemnation of the use torture and other inhumane treatments of persons which goes against the enjoyment and fulfillment of their fundamental human right as espoused by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which in its Article 5 unequivocally proclaimed that, ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’
On this 35th anniversary of the coming into effect of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, of which Ghana is a signatory to, with almost the entire nations of the world, we call on the Ghana government and state institutions to be swift in apprehending perpetrators of torture on any citizen or persons residing in this country irrespective of their religion, race, ethnic group, etc.
The HRRG and ACAT Ghana urges the state to resist the temptations of repatriating persons to home nations where they’re most likely to face torture of all kinds.
We are also serving a reminder to all and sundry that anyone can be the next victim of heinous torture as we use the this year’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to reflect on some instances in Ghana. The use of torture is simply wicked, a crime and must be punished according to the laws of Ghana.
State institutions like the military and police should eschew the use of torture on alleged offenders of the law, during interrogation for prosecution purposes. They should also object to persuasion of being used by powers that be, to visit torture and other acts of violence on political opponents, human rights advocates, journalists, minority groups and the marginalized in the Ghanaian society.
The victims of torture and cruel treatments, HRRG entreats, should use this day to be resolved and continue to entertain the hope of obtaining justice for violation of their rights against inhumane and degrading treatments.
Some highlights of torture and physical violence against citizens of Ghana include the alleged canning of the students of the Annor Adjaye Senior High School in the Jomoro district of the Western Region. In a bizarre case of teachers out of fury and misuse of power, serve severe bodily harm to 19 final-year students of the second cycle institution when it was reported that they were late for the Sunday morning church service. Several weeks have passed with no concrete punishments for tutors involved.
Another act of torture and degrading of the human person is the reported case of the viral video of a young male and female openly flogged at the forecourt of the Wa Naa’s palace in Wa, for allegedly posting a sex video online. Some of the culprits have been arrested by law enforcement agencies.
As a group with one strong voice, we call on the GES, the Ghana Police Service including other sanctioning institutions to endeavor to conduct proper investigations into all matters particularly the Annor Adjaye saga and ensured justice delivered to victims and their families without further delay in these instances of flagrant human rights abuses.
No citizen deserves torture and degrading treatment of any form. We deem the use of torture on victims’ callous and extreme display of cowardice. All persons have the right to live in dignity and contribute meaningfully to society as we remind Ghanaian to dispassionately condemn all acts of torture and oppressive actions and make the country safe for all manner of persons.
Joseph Kobla Wemakor
Executive Director (HRRG)
Dzifa Miriam Damalie
Program Director (ACAT Ghana)