Monday, September 06, 2010

CHRAJ condemns rot at Orphanage

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday September 4, 2010
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has expressed ‘dismay’ and ‘shock’ at the maltreatment allegedly meted out orphans at the Osu Children’s Home in Accra.

Ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the Crusading Guide captured the scenes of the maltreatment of the children in an undercover investigation.

A news release issued in Accra and signed by Justice Francis Emile Short, Commissioner of CHRAJ said “the documentary depicts the dehumanizing and degrading treatments being meted out to inmates of the home.”

The release said “the inmates who consist of, among others, orphans some of whom are disabled deserve compassion not such wanton neglect and maltreatment. If the documentary represents the true picture of the situation in the Home, then it is indeed very disheartening and abhorrent that people who are trusted with the duty to take care of such a vulnerable group in the society would perpetuate such violence on the very people they are paid to protect from such harmful acts.”

“The Commission lauds Anas for taking such a bold step by risking his life and expending much resources to bring to light some of these shameful acts.”

Justice Short said undercover investigation raises some “troubling questions about the kind of supervisory role being played by the Social Welfare Department and all concerned institutions on the activities of some of these homes.”

“The Commission welcomes the swift call by the Attorney General for a thorough investigation to be conducted into the activities of the Osu Children's Home, so as to ensure that all those found to have misconducted themselves face the full rigours of the law.

The commission hopes the investigation “would help to disclose the identity of all those implicated in this unfortunate and despicable behavior and that it would serve as a deterrent to others involved in similar acts.”

Justice Short said whilst admitting that the home is under-staffed and caregivers are sometimes overstretched, it was no justification for the maltreatment of the children.

“The task of caring for the vulnerable in Ghana should not be left to the care of a few people, but we all, like Anas, have a part to play if we are to secure the future of our dear nation which is firmly rooted in these kids. There is the need for swift intervention by the relevant authorities to put a stop to the alleged maltreatment of the children and to make the Home a place where the children can be brought up in dignity and be able to realize their full potentials.”

The Commission calls on all Ghanaians and philanthropists not to relent in their efforts to continue donating items in cash and in kind towards securing the future of the vulnerable children in the wake of the revelations.

Justice Short appealed to the government, the Department of Social Welfare and all stakeholders to endeavour to put in cogent and pragmatic measures to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all children in such homes

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