NGO worried over mob justice

The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has expressed worry over the rise of mob justice and physical assault against suspected homosexuals in the country.

Mob justice is an instance where unauthorized citizens violate the law, punish and torture an individual based on suspicions.

The Executive Director of the HRAC, Mr. Robert Akoto Amoafo, who raised the concern at news conference in Accra yesterday, said about five mob justice cases had been already recorded in the country within the first two months of the year.

He attributed the situation to the ignorance of the law and intolerance towards homosexuals by most Ghanaians, saying “this contravenes the very essence of Ghana’s believe in freedom and justice”.

“This is illegal and contradicts our commitments to the respect of fundamental human rights, physically abusing someone on mere suspicions of his difference in sexuality is inhumane,” he said.

Mr. Amoafo said the situation was becoming rampant due to the slow proceedings and Ghanaians mistrust in the justice systems.

“People no longer trust the justice system, they think that it is too slow, lengthy and takes a lot of time and, therefore, take the law into their hands for their quick satisfaction,” he said.

The Executive Director, therefore appealed to the Ghana Police Service to be proactive in addressing reported crime cases.

He also tasked the courts to ensure quick trials of cases in order to whip up public confidence in the judiciary.

Mr. Amoafo called on stakeholders to take a critical look at the Criminal Procedure Code and be involved in addressing the inhumane attitude of some Ghanaians who dispense instant justice.

He, however, encouraged the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO), to increase public educations on the need for individuals to report suspected crimes to the police for investigations.

He also advised Ghanaians to desist from abusing people they suspect to be homosexuals.

“If anyone has reasons to believe an individual has committed the crime of unnatural carnal knowledge as prescribed by the Criminal Offences Act (Act 29), we encourage that individual to report to the nearest police station,” he said.

By Linda Aryeetey

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