CHRAJ advocates protection of rights of prison inmates

Wa, (UWR)� The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has advocated the protection and safeguarding of the fundamental Human Rights of prison inmates to ensure that they were not deprived of those rights.

It said the inmates should not be given inhumane and degrading treatment simply because they find themselves in prisons, but that they were humans and should be treated as such.

Mr Sidik Ubeidu, the Upper West Regional Director of CHRAJ, said this in Wa when he presented assorted items including; detergents, toiletries, brooms and mops among others valued at about GH?4,000.00 to the Ghana Prison Service and the Ghana Police Service in Wa.

The donation, which was to alleviate the plight of the inmates, was also to mark the International Day of Human Rights commemorated globally on December 10 every year.

He said the GH?1.80 government allocated to feed an inmate for a day was woefully inadequate and urged the government to review the amount to help improve the living conditions of the inmates.

They are not here to be punished, they are here to be reformed, but they are given food that under normal circumstances you will not even give to your dog, Mr Ubeidu lamented.

He said CHRAJ was working to ensure that inmates received better treatment including good food and clean environment, which were prerequisite to achieve the needed correction for the inmates after serving their sentences.

Mr Ubeidu appealed to Judges of the various Courts to stop unnecessary remanding to help reduce overcrowding in the various prisons.

He said CHRAJ was mandated by law to receive and investigate complaints on human rights violation and to also arbitrate justice and asked the Paralegal Officer at the Wa Prison to furnish the CHRAJ with the names of remand prisoners who did not have lawyers for CHRAJ to help them seek justice.

He also entreated benevolent individuals and organizations to support the inmates to help them have comfortable lives as government alone could not solve all the problems of the prisoners.

Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) Christopher Nyamedi, the Upper West Regional Commander of the Ghana Prison Service, said the Regional Prison was designed to house about 100 inmates at a time, but that it currently contained about 170 inmates.

We cannot reject prisoners brought to us with valid warrant, which is causing the overcrowding, he said, and noted that his outfit would organise transfers for the prisoners to help reduce congestion at the Wa prison.

Some of the inmates raised concerns about combination of both remand and convicted prisoners in one cell, poor quality of food and poor sanitation, and lack of concern from relatives and appealed to stakeholders to help change the situation.

Source: Ghana News Agency