Kudos Prez. Mills!....But more could be done to help victims of sexual harassment
Free World Foundation welcomes the recall and subsequent retiring of Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dadey for allegedly harassing Madam Helen Adewonuola sexually. Indeed the allege act if proven to be true would amount to a violation of her fundamental human rights and would seriously dent the good image of Ghana in the eyes of the international community.
Sex is an act that must take place between two consenting adults in an appropriate manner and place. The allegations recounted by Madam Adewonuola on Adom FM’s “Dwaso Nsem” on Friday, October 22, 2010 were very damning.
Diplomats are the embodiment of the values and principles held by their home countries and are expected to be worthy ambassadors of these values and principles.
Free World Foundation commends His Excellency; President J.E.A Mills for taking a very bold deceision to protect the good image Ghana has in the international community by recalling and subsequently retiring Mr. Dadey who has been described by the Foreign Minister as one of the hardworking Ghanaian envoys. We hope this is just the beginning of a full scale investigation into what allegedly happened between Mr. Dadey and his private Secretary, Madam Adewonuola.
Whilst not completely discounting the possibility of a set-up, Free World Foundation would like to commend Madam Adewonuola for her courage to report the allege actions of Mr. Dadey. Although it is better late than never, we would have wished that she reported her allege harassment after the first incident. Her failure to do so gives credence to the fact that as a society, we have got a long way to go in respect of women empowerment and fighting the stigma associated with sexual harassment.
Evidence abounds of several women being harassed sexually on a daily basis at their work places and schools but who cannot report their ordeals because of the fear of losing their daily bread and the stigma that comes with it.
Finally, Free World Foundation is calling on all women who may be undergoing similar ordeals to muster the courage and expose the perpetrators, as sexual harassment is a violation of their fundamental human rights.
World Leaders must step up the fight against poverty
As the whole world marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Free World Foundation is calling on world leaders to make greater efforts aimed at reducing poverty to the barest minimum if not completely eradicate it than they have made in the past by investing into the social and economic sectors of their countries.
As indicated by the former United Nations Secretary General, His Excellency, Busumuru Dr. Kofi Annan in the year 2006, on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, "The campaign to make poverty history-a central moral challenge of our age-cannot remain a task for the few; it must become a calling for the many”. Indeed everyone must “STAND UP, TAKE ACTION & MAKE NOISE FOR THE MDGS”.
This year’s theme for the commemoration, "From Poverty to Decent Work: bridging the gap" indicates that, all stakeholders must help in the provision of decent work as a means of eradicating poverty in the world. Although the World Bank defines poverty as living on less than USD$1 a day, available statistics indicate that there are millions of people throughout the world who struggle to live on less than one dollar a day.
This serious and unfortunate development can be attributed mainly to the failure of governments around the world to take pragmatic actions through policies and programmes to reduce poverty among majority of the world’s population and natural factors such as floods and drought.
World leaders must see extreme poverty as a violation of human rights and must do more than they are currently doing to respect and protect this right. Indeed every man, woman, youth and child has the human right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, to food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services. These are rights bestowed on everyone by God and no one could be deprived of same. People must not loose their dignity because of poverty.
Free World Foundation is glad that the government of Ghana has launched the National Youth Policy. However, we would like to see the speedy implementation of the policy and the creation of decent employment for the teeming unemployed youth of Ghana. The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) started by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration and being continued by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration is good but does not solve the unemployment problem of Ghana. It is good because temporarily, it provides an individual employment for two (2) years but defective because it renders that same individual redundant after the second year of employment.
Free World Foundation is calling on the government of Ghana, to as a matter of urgency, consider the future of the numerous Junior High School graduates who are not able to climb the educational ladder. It is an undeniable fact, that since 1990, when the first Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E) was written in Ghana, more than fifty percent of pupils who write the examination each year fail to climb the educational ladder any further. Unfortunately, the then government and successive governments thereafter have failed woefully to think of the future of these pupils. If care is not taken, they will become a liability to the larger society as they may resort to some unconventional, inappropriate and indecent means of earning a livelihood. The government must therefore make policies that would cater for these pupils.
Initiate judicial enquiry into allegations of genocide in DR Congo
Free World Foundation welcomes the release of the final version of the Mapping Report, a UN sponsored report into the killings of Hutu civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003.
The allegations of Hutu civilians being shot, raped, burnt or beaten must be condemned by all well-meaning people. This is clearly in violation of articles 3 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which say that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” and “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” respectively. It is also against article 2 clause 2 of the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which says “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture”.
As a member of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (C.I.C.C), Free World Foundation is calling on the international community to ensure that the necessary legal framework is put in place for the possible prosecution of the alleged perpetrators (including Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan forces). This would ensure that the victims of these heinous crimes get justice.
The threat by President Paul Kagame to withdraw Rwandan troops from UN peacekeeping operations in response to the report and Uganda’s threat to do same must not stop the international community from pushing for a full scale judicial enquiry to determine whether or not there was a deliberate attempt to destroy the Hutu ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Genocide is too serious a crime to be committed and every effort must be made to determine whether the incidents documented in the Mapping report really amount to the crime of genocide.
Reschedule the academic calendar for first year SHS students
Free World Foundation has followed with keen interest what seems to be an attempt by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) on one hand and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) on the other to joggle with the reopening of the 2010/2011 academic year for first year students.
Whilst recognising the good intention of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service not to tamper with the academic calendar of the first year students, it is important that we create a conducive atmosphere for academic work.
Unfortunately, the measures put in place by government and supported by the P.T.As and Old Students Associations of the various Senior High Schools are at various stages of completion making them inhabitable and not conducive for academic activities. The disclosure by the President of CHASS, Mr. Samuel Ofori – Adjei that about 50% of schools would not be ready for reopening by October 15, 2010 is an indication that we must thread cautiously.
This problem has arisen because the previous administration failed to adequately prepare when it changed the duration of Senior High School education from 3 years to 4 years after the Anamuah – Mensah Committee’s work and the subsequent reversal of this decision by the current administration.
Also, the suggestion by the GES for the schools to improvise has come at too late a time and is going to put heads of government assisted Senior High Schools in a very difficult position if funds are not readily available for this purpose.
We are dismayed that in spite of the unpreparedness of the schools to accommodate the first year students by the announced date for reopening, the GES still wants schools to reopen on the said date, suggesting that schools turn their laboratories, workshops, dining and assembly halls into classrooms.
Also, the suggestion that schools should resort to the use of tents and plastic chairs will not be conducive enough for quality teaching and learning.
We think that as all schools are using the same syllabus and will be writing the same final exams, it is only right, fair and appropriate for all students to have a level starting point. If the GES goes ahead with its decision, it will put unnecessary pressure on parents, students and school authorities and may also lead to poor academic performance at the end.
With the problem that has arisen, it is evident that it will be practically impossible for fresh students to start their new academic year without any hitches. To fix this problem, we suggest that the reopening date should be fixed for January and by extension a January to December academic calendar be run. We are aware of the clash in calendar but we strongly believe it is the only prudent option available.