10 “safe spaces” identified in Accra for COVID-19 victim support

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has identified 10 “safe spaces” within the capital, Accra, to offer support to persons suffering stigma from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The spaces will serve as havens for stigmatised persons to call or walk in to receive counselling and other forms of psychosocial support from trained persons to facilitate their full recovery and integration into society.

They include the Hope Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana; the Upper Room Temple of the Assemblies of God; the Charismatic Evangelical Church at Mamobi, Wataniya Mosque, Kardos Central Mosque and   Mosque in Nima, all in the Ayawaso East Constituency.

The rest are the Ebenezer Methodist Church and Winners Chapel International in the Madina Constituency; the Scraps Market Mosque and Women Empowerment Foundation International at Agbogbloshie and Old Fadama respectively.

Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mercy Larbi, yesterday told the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of a capacity-building programme for operators of these “safe places” that the project funded by the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) would run for a year.

“For now, we are running this project in Accra and mainly in these hot spot areas because our pre-assessment shows that COVID-19-related stigma and discrimination was high there, which is a human right violation.

“For now, it is a one-year programme but if at the end of the period, we feel the need to extend it, it will be done,” she said.

Ms Larbi said aside the community “safe place”, CHRAJ had acquired a toll-free number 0800330330, and an SMS short code 920 to increase public access to the Commission on any human rights violation issue.

“I wish to remind all of us that stigma and discrimination is a gross human right violation and should not be encouraged in a civilised society like ours,” she stated.

Programme Manager of CHRAJ, Gloria Gyedu, said the capacity building was to equip operators on case management, referrals and provision of psychosocial support.

“The community safe spaces will facilitate reporting of and response to stigma and discrimination in communities where people are recovering from COVID-19,” she said.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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