JHR AUCC-CHAPTER has noted with concern the growing panic and fear among a section of the public following the recent televised message by President Akufo Addo with regards to the partial lockdown in areas identified as flashpoint for the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Since the pronouncement, there has been a mass exodus of vehicular movement in the said areas to rural communities ahead of the directive which is to take effect on Monday, March, 30 at exactly 1 am. People are fleeing their homes for obvious reasons as majority harbour the fear of police and military brutality in the course of enforcement. Perhaps, viral video footage on social media and other news portals painting wild intents by some military persons in preparation of tomorrow’s event has been the common push factor provoking this unfortunate development.
However, in as much as the President has issued guidelines as modus operandi for the assigned officers, JHR is urging the security services to deal with the situation with a human face and not exert excessive force and violent means to punish offenders.
Per the stipulated guidelines, officers are mandated to act responsibly devoid of ill-will and malice in order not to put people under high risk of infection. Using Kenya as a real case scenario, the police have come under fire over ‘excessive force’ since government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. About 20 Human right groups including Amnesty International have also come out to condemn the act which has forced hundreds to flee their homes to other areas for safety. Media reports exposed some police officers who were captured on video gleefully assaulting members of the public.
JHR in no uncertain terms condemn such brutalities and calls for calm not only in Kenya but country’s currently experiencing ‘unprecedented’ lockdown. At this instance, we will crave the indulgence of our revered security operatives to act professionally and not subject civilians to needless brutalities but manage people in a manner that will consolidate the hard-won peace and stability being enjoyed in the country.
In the face of the prevailing situation, we further wish to caution the general public particularly, residents in Accra, Tema and Kumasi to allay fears and go strictly by the president’s directive to enable the police and the military to have a violent free operation. Moreover, transport operators are advised to heed to the directive and avoid inter-city movements during the said period. Government per its constitutional obligation has shown true commitment with a series of stricter measures to slow down the rate of infection, it is therefore incumbent on us to be responsive and not violate its directives.
It is equally important for Ghanaians to adhere to good sanitary practices and social distance protocols as announced by the president in his maiden broadcast on the global pandemic. Our health and wellbeing are paramount to ensuring every facet of development, hence the need for us to put our health first because it is said that ‘the health of the nation, is the wealth of the nation.
Let us stay home and stop the spread.
Together we can fight COVID-19!!!!
Michael Kofi Oduro President
Isaac Asare Owusu General Secretary
Selassie Amu Communications Officer
Contacts: +233 (0)208504585/ +233 (0)244088870/+233 (0)557123460 respectively
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