Story by Carlos Afanou

The Centre for Victims of Injustice (CenVI, GH) has received with shock news on Monday 6th April 2020, of the alleged  killing of a Civilian at Ashaiman Municipality by a Military officer who was part of Military men detailed to enforce the 14 day partial lockdown as part of government's measure to mitigate the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The Executive Director /Founder (Felix  Engsalige Nyaaba)has called for swift investigation into the killing and the appropriate sanctions for the officer involved.

Even though they acknowledge the magnitude of the challenge and efforts made by the government to fight COVID-19 across the country, they are also alarmed by several reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights, that include  beating of civilians by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance of the lockdown.

According to Felix  Engsalige Nyaaba, as the nation observes the 14-day lockdown, the rights of citizens must be respected and protected, including the right to health care, security, and access to food and water.

He continued by saying that the lockdown must have a human face; enabling citizens and the general public  to have access to vital needs and relief for those who can no longer earn a living since the majority of Ghanaians are daily earners and live below the poverty line.

He advised the government in the coming days,as a matter of urgency, to implement transparent income support programs targeting the most vulnerable populations. According to him, millions of Ghanaians who live in slums and informal settlements without access to basic services are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.

They are of the view that the government should ensure the rights to health, food and water are realized in such settlements under this pandemic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Again, the government has an obligation to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of the population, especially persons living with disabilities and the homeless (Kayayee, street dwellers et al) have sufficient access to the services needed to give them the best chance of survival.

This will include access to health services and facilities and the provision of emergency shelter, especially where needed to allow homeless people, including Kayaye, children on street be taken care of in this difficult times.

 Felix  Engsalige Nyaaba complained that reports of severe shortages of vital personal protective equipment for frontline and other health workers are incredibly worrying and could have tragic consequences during the response to the coronavirus crisis.

 In addition, the frontline workers deserve immediate attention as they join the fight against coronavirus,and the Government must therefore urgently put in place measures that protect their right to health and minimise their risk of contracting the disease.

In furtherance he said that good-quality personal protective equipment, information, training and psychosocial support are urgently needed to support nurses, doctors and other response staff during the unfolding crisis.

CenVI, GH, however, wished to take this opportunity to call on the President, H.E. Nana Akufo Addo to use every option available to increase the production and/or the procurement and supply of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other vital healthcare equipment.

He made it clear that these goods and services should be made widely available and affordable to all. And that there should also be a drastic increase in testing for COVID-19 in every region of Ghana.

He concluded that the scale and deadly nature of the pandemic which has spread to over 220 countries have made it necessary for governments, faith-based groups and individuals  to implement extraordinary measures. But with collective efforts, the chance to curb the spread of the pandemic in Ghana is very high and we must all get involved.

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