The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has demanded that the National Identification Authority (NIA) stop its ongoing exercise in the Eastern Region to register Ghanaians for the national ID Card aka, Ghana Card.
CHRAJ has similarly also demanded that the Electoral Commission put on hold its advertised plan to start an exercise to register people for a new Voters’ Register calling the EC’s poise for the exercise in spite of public protests “intransigent.”
“…the Commission is of the considered view that the President
or the Inter-Ministerial Committee calls the NIA to order by suspending forthwith
its ongoing registration exercise in the Eastern Region until the COVID-9
“In the same vein, the Commission calls on the President or the Inter-Ministerial
Committee on COVID-19 to advise the EC on the potential public health risk and
safety associated with the planned Voters’ Registration due to the danger or threat
that any mass gathering arising from such an exercise can pose to the health and
life of the people,” a Statement signed byu Commissioner, Joseph Whital said.
According to the statement, a continuation of registration exercises in spite of the Covid 19 pandemic is reckless endangerment of the fundamental rights of Ghanaians to good health and to life.
It noted that the continued registration of persons by the NIA violates President Akufo-Addo’s directive against public gatherings.
The statement is coming after the NIA intransigently continued with the registration of people in the Eastern Region for the Ghana Card in spite of the global Covid 19 pandemic which has taken the lives of hundred.
In disregarding President Akufo-Addo’s ban on public gathering, the NIA had justified its reckless actions by claiming that it was applying safety measures including social distancing at a time that infection cases for Ghana have been increasing with the tally rising to 11 from 7 in just one day.
“The Commission is however worried that in spite of the President’s directives and the existing WHO precautionary measures aimed at containment and combating COVID-19, the National Identification Authority (NIA) is relentlessly embarking on a registration exercise in the Eastern Region. This has been exacerbated by reports in the media that the registration officials are poorly equipped with hand sanitisers, gloves and nose masks.
“It is trite knowledge that the NIA registration exercise will engender gathering or massing up of potential registrants thereby undermining acceptable protocols on social distancing relative to the national response. In addition, the NIA’s action is a clear violation of the right to health and ultimately the right to life as stipulated under Articles 34(2), 13(1) and 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution (Constitution) respectively, which are premised on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Articles 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),” the CHRAJ statement said.
In regards to the Electoral Commission, CHRAJ called the posturing of its leaders, especially Jean Mensah, who has vowed to compile a new voters’ register in spite of the Covid 19 pandemic, “intransigent.”
“EC’s posture and intransigence would undermine WHO protocols/benchmarks
on COVID-19 and capable of violating the above mentioned provisions of the
Constitution, international and regional human rights instruments and the SDGs
for which Ghana is a State Party and a signatory,” CHRAJ said.
It therefore called on President Akufo-Addo and the Committee on Covid 19 to call it, together with the NIA to order.