For the first time in its history, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will this year take part in the monitoring and observation of the general elections on December 7, 2008.
Consequently the Electoral Commission (EC) is taking some officials of CHRAJ in 10 regional and 99 district offices through a series of seminars to fulfil that mission.
The focus of the initiative is to monitor the way and manner the election is conducted by all partners to ensure that the civic right of no Ghanaian is abused.
The acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Anna Bossman, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, said for instance officials of CHRAJ would report on cases of abuse where a voter with the requisite voter identity card and having his or her name in the register is for some reason prevented from voting.
These reports would be collated from all constituencies and, according to Ms Bossman, CHRAJ’s report would be the result of an independent and non-partisan approach that would help in the entrenchment of lessons necessary for democratic growth.
Apart from reporting on instances of abuse of rights during voting, voters aggrieved in any way on that day can resort to the grievance procedure of the EC. If the person is not satisfied, he or she could still lodge a complaint with CHRAJ and it would look into the complaint.
On abuses during campaigns like the assault on one of the security details of the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC’s) flag bearer, Prof. Evans Atta Mills, Mrs Bossman said care needed to be taken to differentiate assault, which is a criminal issue, from a human rights abuse.
He said the alleged assault was a criminal matter that needed to be reported to the police. However, if the police by their action or inaction tried to cover up the matter, then that would constitute the abuse of a right and a complaint could be lodged with the Commission to look into it.
DAILY GRAPHIC, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2008, PG 17