An investigation by the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) into the circumstances that led to the victimization and gruesome torture of a 7-year-old girl whose feet and hands were bounded with ropes by his father for hours in the name of punishment for a wrongdoing has pointed out to an allegation levelled against her for shoplifting of a biscuit from neighbours’ shop.
The bizarre incident which took place at Ampaame, a town located in Kumasi within the Ashanti Region of Ghana on Friday July 15, had since received an outright public outcry and condemnation the moment the issue was brought to light by the Human Rights Reporters Ghana.
The victim, looking malnourished, had received severe flogging, left without food and above all tied up with ropes by both hands and feet from dawn to dusk, according to an eyewitness who spoke to the HRRG team of investigative journalists.
Executive Director of the Human Rights Reporters Ghana, Joseph Wemakor, in an interview with Victoria Beeko Danso, host of HB Pulse on Homebase TV, Thursdays July 21, observed findings of HRRG proved the victim was accused of petty stealing of food items including money.
But the theft of a biscuit from a nearby kiosk on that fateful day of the incident was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, angered the father to carry out the nefarious act of torture, inhumane and degrading punishment upon her.
According to him, this revelation came to light upon interrogation with the victim’s step mother, who let the cat out of the bag.
“So what was her offence, it was alleged that she often steals little things; she is a kleptomaniac and on that fateful day she stole a biscuit from somebody’s shop and that was why the father wants to crucify her”, he laments.
Mr. Wemakor who doubles as both the Co-convener of the Youth Sub-Platform and the SDG3 of the Civil Society Organizations Platform on SDGs in Ghana averred that the information HRRG gathered so far from its sources further revealed that the family of twelve appears to be living in penury, a situation which put pressure on the parents to visit their anger and frustration on their children upon a slightest provocation resulting in frequent maltreatment sometimes in the form of beatings, abuse and torture among others.
The perpetrator, he revealed, was a former staff of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) who retired from active service as a security officer. He married two women and gave birth to 10 children of which the victim, a 7-year-old is the last born.
Her current wife under his roof is the step mother of the victim who happens to be the biological mother of the other 9 children.
Describing the kind of poor lifestyle the family is living vividly portrayed in the image captured by the eyewitnesses on the ground, Mr. Wemakor was convinced that this is a family which needs help and appealed to civil society organizations, well-wishers and the general public to come on board, partner HRRG to galvanize support and help provide aid for them while seeking justice for the young victim.
“Look, a pensioner with 10 children and a wife who is a peasant farmer, how are they able to feed all these children including themselves. Obviously, the reason for visiting their frustration on their children upon the slightest offence or wrongdoing”.
The HRRG boss wondered why a police officer only known as Mr. Asante at the Ampaame Police Station where the case was first reported did not take action to rescue the child and arrest the culprit upon being shown a photograph and a video footage of the victim but rather delayed the process and thwarted efforts aimed at rescuing the victim.
He assured of his outfit’s commitment to follow the case to its logical conclusion and ensure justice is served the victim while the perpetrator (s) are brought to book to serve as deterrent to other child rights violators
Mr. Wemakor admonished all Ghanaians and viewers watching beyond the shores of Ghana to endeavour to get to know about their rights and help educate others who do not seem to know to be enlightened as well in order to stand up for themselves and others whenever their rights are being infringed upon.
“So let’s be each other’s protector and let’s help the poor, and the vulnerable in society. Those of us who are having; the halves should help the halves not. And then, the education on human rights should be extended to all boundaries”, he posited.
Host of HB Pulse on Homebase TV, Victoria Beeko Danso who was equally touched by the plight of the 7-year-old victim upon watching the disturbing footage and listening to the narrations by the HRRG boss could simply not hold herself back from sounding a note of caution to all child rights abusers in the world.
“In as much as you’re going through hell or hardship does not give you the mandate or the impetus to carry out your frustration and your anger on the innocent child who didn’t ask to be born. If you are living with someone’s child and you cannot take care of them, please take them back to their families. You have absolutely no right to treat them as if they are lesser human beings”, she bemoans.
She furthered: “I’m very passionate when it comes to issues of children because they are defenceless, vulnerable. Even the good book says if anyone wanted to enter the kingdom of God, they should behave like children that is how God sees children; innocent, pure”
“Carrying out your frustrations on children is a big NO, NO, NO. Please, children have rights, and they are human beings, everyone has been a child before. Children are vulnerable. They are innocent. They are supposed to be loved, protected and cared for”, the concerned TV host aptly concluded”.
The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) is a vibrant Ghanaian human rights advocacy group with a global reach, committed to ensuring people’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
It is made up of young Ghanaian journalists, editors, lawyers, human rights activists, advocates and defenders who are wholly dedicated to addressing issues of human rights violations in Ghana and beyond to bring the country closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
HRRG work revolves around helping victims of human rights violations get access to justice, public education/ capacity building on human rights, advocacy including shedding light, sounding alarm on issues of human rights violations to draw the attention of duty bearers to take the necessary actions to tackle issues in a bid to end up all forms of human rights abuses the country is confronted with which infringes upon the enjoyment of people’s freedom and fundamental human rights particularly children, women, girls, persons with disabilities, the aged and the minority groups who are the vulnerable in our society.
Watch the full interview below: