The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is deeply concerned and saddened by the recent acts of brutality and violence perpetrated against the peaceful protestors of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse movement, which took place on September 21, 2023. It is with great dismay that we witness such events unfold in our democratic society. The association is eerily harrowed by the horrendous narratives coming from persons who were picked by the police and beaten to pulp.
The GBA strongly condemns any form of violence, intimidation, or harassment against citizens exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly and expression. These actions are not only a violation of fundamental human rights but also undermine the very principles upon which our democracy is built.
We have consistently resisted the temptation to respond to many issues in this regime. However, we have come to the sad realisation that our voice is crucial in safeguarding our democracy as it gradually tip-toes to the edge of a steep cliff under the presidency of Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who happens to be a member of the association.
Again, we are particularly troubled by the reports of protestors being molested and beaten mercilessly by the police, resulting in injuries and near fractures. It is with heavy heart to learn that numerous individuals and passers-by, including international journalists were arrested. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and the targeting of journalists while they perform their vital role is an affront to the values we once hold dear.
It is disappointing that, in this instance, the GBA could not promptly issue a statement as it has done in previous governments. We acknowledge that the perception of a close relationship between the GBA and the current administration may have caused some delay. However, we wish to reiterate that our primary allegiance lies with the principles of justice, fairness, and the rule of law, rather than with any individual or political entity. Consistently platforming the president for the last seven years in our annual bar conferences should not be a yardstick for citizens to judge us. We still have fiduciary duty with Ghanaians.
The GBA calls for a swift and impartial investigation into the incidents that occurred during the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest. Those responsible for acts of violence and brutality must be held accountable under the law. The IGP should immediately bring his men and women into pecking order. We also urge the government to ensure the safety and protection of all citizens exercising their democratic rights, including protestors and journalists.
Furthermore, we encourage open dialogue and engagement between all stakeholders to address the concerns and grievances of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse movement. It is through constructive dialogue and respect for differing opinions that we can work towards a stronger, more inclusive, and just society.
In conclusion, the Ghana Bar Association reiterates its commitment to upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and promoting justice in our beloved nation. We stand in solidarity with all those affected by the recent events and call for a peaceful resolution to these issues.
(On behalf of Ghana Bar Association who are yet to locate their conscience and morals and put a press release together in condemnation of the shameless brutalities of innocent Ghanaian citizens. This GBA is a proud affiliate of the Ghana Chop Bar Association).