‘Banishment has outlived relevance under democracy’

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is troubled about the increase in expulsion cases being orchestrated by some traditional authorities across the Central Region.
It said the obnoxious practice had resurfaced in many remote parts of the region which had outlived its relevance under democratic dispensation.
“In our constitutional dispensation, it is unheard of for any traditional authority to banish a Ghanaian from his community over sometimes trivial issues with sometimes unthinkable reasons like failing to participate in communal labour and where are they banishing the person to, leaving behind his family, friends and property he/she has toiled for,” the Commission lamented.
Daniel Amosah, the Central Regional Director of CHRAJ, insisted that banishment had outlived its relevance with constitutional democracy, international rights and conventions which those involved should come to terms with modern trends and democratic dispensation.
He bemoaned numerous complaints the Commission had received of outright banishment and also social ostracism, citing often disobedience against traditional authorities however, he declined to mention the communities engaged in the act because the cases were under investigation.
“On social ostracism, the victim is prevented from taking part in community activities, including performing funerals, access to burial grounds, community meetings, continued use of proscribed sanctions, among other actions by traditional authorities, raised challenges to nation’s laws, sovereignty, and global commitment, dedication and determination to upholding human rights and freedoms.
“Without any shred of equivocation, banishment of any individual is considered a crime as stated unambiguously in the 19992 Constitution which prohibits all customary practices which dehumanised or are injurious to physical and mental well-being of the citizenry Ghanaian.
“Every person in the country, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender should be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of individual contained in the 1992 Constitution but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public.
“Article 21 (g) of the Constitution guarantees freedom of movement which means the right to move freely in the country, the right to leave and to enter the country and immunity from expulsion from Ghana,” Mr Amosah observed.
He urged all traditional authorities to be law-abiding to ensure peaceful co-existence and harmony, bearing in mind the Constitution was the supreme law of the country and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution to the extent of inconsistency, be void.
Mr Amosah reminded traditional authorities to be guided by the prestige of their institution and dictates of the Constitution to avoid any arbitrary use of powers to oppress and victimise people who had no means of redress.
He noted that instead, they must seek legal redress in a competent court of jurisdiction to foster peace, unity national cohesion and harmony which were key ingredients for rapid progress, growth and development and called on citizens to exhibit a high sense of responsibility, be law-abiding and avoid acts that would result in a collision with traditional authorities. -GNA

Show More
Back to top button