The acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ms Anna Bossman, has asked Ghanaians, particularly politicians, to maintain their cool even as the country heads for a run-off.
She said in trying times when who to lead the country was not clearly known the fortitude of political leaders to maintain peace and stability would be a sign of leadership.
Ms Bossman gave the advice in Accra yesterday during the commemoration of the international human rights day and the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the world.
The occasion was used to present two reports, one on the State of Human Rights in the country and the other on the preliminary observations of the 2008 election by staff of CHRAJ, termed “Monitoring the Right to Vote.”
CHRAJ observed and monitored the elections in 900 polling stations in 137 constituencies carefully selected by an objective criteria developed by the Commission.
It concluded that the elections were free, fair and transparent.
CHRAJ commended the voters for the calm and orderliness in voting, party agents for their active and vigilant participation in the process, security personnel for demonstrating professionalism and the Electoral Commission for a free, fair and transparent process.
"But it is not over yet until the results are declared. To political parties and the general populace, this is the period during which all of us will be tested. This is the time when the mettle of each and everyone of the candidates will be tested. The mark of a true leader is how he responds in time of stress, difficulty and adversity," Ms Bossman said.
On the state of human rights, the country generally had made some strides in consolidating democracy but more work was needed in consolidating civil and political rights.
Specifically, advancing human rights, combating lawlessness and fostering civility among the general populace was mentioned as areas needing focus.
CHRAJ was also unhappy about commmunual violence between Kusasis and the Mamprusis in Bawku and asked all to “work earnestly towards peace in the Bawku community.”
The shooting of some residents in Ashaiman that led to the death of two persons, mob justice and the punishment of washing and handling corpse meted out to some commercial drivers at the 37 Military Hospital was highlighted in the report.
How the country fared with children’s rights, cultural rights, health and educational rights, the rights of people living in mining communities and corruption were also highlighted in the report.
The Resident UN Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Dauoda Toure, who read a message on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said the UDHR was drafted in the midst of utter destruction and destitution following the Second World War.
He said its adoption was a landmark and remained a core part of the identity of the UN to date.
The statement said the challenges being faced currently were similar to those being faced when the UNDR was declared.
It was, therefore imperative for all to act collectively to uphold the rights.
Ms Afua Ansre of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in her statement underscored the need for more to be done in ensuring dignity and justice for all.
The Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, in his welcoming remarks said the country still needed to strive to sensitise all to "learn, promote and claim" the UDHR for themselves and others.
DAILY GRAPHIC, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2008, PG 17