The Commission on Human Rights Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has issued an advisory to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) over their response to protests.
The country has recorded cases of abuse of protesters by the law enforcement agency over the years including abuse of students of Islamic Senior High School in Kumasi last year and a recent one last week during the Occupy Jubilee protest.
The Commission says these responses have been “disproportionate and leaves much to be desired”.
“It is in this context that the Commission deems it appropriate as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) with the mandate to promote and protect human rights under the Constitution and CHRAJ Act, 1993 (Act 456) and its obligations under the Paris Principles to issue an advisory to relevant state actors on matters of human right concern,” it noted.
The Commission in a letter to the IGP outlined six recommendations to forestall recurrence.
Among them included the development of guidelines (where none exist) for managing protests which incorporates human rights standards for the use by law enforcement officials particularly the Police; holding refresher courses on human rights law and other relevant UN & AU standards governing the operations of law enforcement agencies; and building rapport between police and protesters as citizens and not as troublemakers to achieve an incident free protest.
It also recommended law enforcement agencies to realise freedom of assembly and other protected rights unless restrictions are reasonably necessary in a democratic society.
Additionally it ordered the agencies to afford protestors the opportunity to challenge the decision in the court of law in the exercise of injunction; and be mindful of Ghana’s human rights obligations towards its citizens