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Don’t dismiss agony of abused victims – Kwesi Aning to security agencies

Security Analyst and Director of the Academic Affairs and Research faculty at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Prof. Kwesi Aning is admonishing leadership of the various security agencies in the country to be wary of how they communicate to families and victims who suffer torture in the hands of their personnel.

According to him, the flow of communication and the level of explanation from the security agencies in instances of police or military brutalities should be such that, it rather shows compassion, reassurance and does not become dismissive of the plight of the abused and their relatives.

“I have been appealing to the security agencies to be more savvy in their communication with the public and to use language that generates trust, confidence and opens the door for dialogue and cooperation,” Prof. Aning.

He said the failure of state security agencies to be savvier in their communication with the citizens does not only compound public mistrust, but also does not foster healthy cooperation with other relevant stakeholders in dealing with Ghana’s rising state of insecurity.

“We cannot, and must not, continue to dismiss and hurt the pain of ordinary people and communities within which they are located. So my appeal once more is that, let these institutions be cautious with their choice of words. The way they are presented and the manner in which a duty of care becomes a natural aspect of the delivery of services that the public expects.”

Prof. Aning made the call on Joy FM’s NewsFile on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

Legitimizing brutalities

On the same programme, Prof. Kwesi Aning also expressed worry over what he feels is the legitimization of civilians’ abuse and attacks by security agencies.

He explained that the practice is compromising the safety of the entire citizenry and to a larger extent peace and stability in the country.

“There is a recognition that those who are to protect the citizenry fail in their protection mandate”, he said.

His comments come on the back of not only recent military and police brutalities in Ejura and Wa but also similar ones that have been recorded nationwide in the past.

For him, it is high time leadership of the various security agencies began restructuring their mode of recruiting and training to instil an institutional culture that will prioritize and guarantee the fundamental human rights of the citizens as far as their safety and protection are concerned.

He could not fathom, in the Wa case, why officers who were said to have passed out only a few days ago, would be allowed to take the law into their own hands and subject residents to such an inhumane ordeal.

“These are recruits who have just passed out four days before. What is the nature of the institutional culture that four days after training, you think you can come to town and behave this way? What is the institutional culture, and what have they been taught four days after passing out? Do they think they can just wear the uniform? The institution has a culture that legitimates the brutalization of civilians who persist against them.”

Prof. Aning, particularly, called on the Minister responsible for Defence and the Chief of Army Staff to ensure that the right things are done going forward for reforms in Ghana’s state security apparatus.

“So I think that I will appeal to the Defence Minister and Chief of Army Staff, that we need to go back and look at the training manuals and examine institutional culture”, he added.

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