HUMAN RIGHTS Advocacy Group, Amnesty International, Ghana has raised red flags over alleged human right abuses against some staff members of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) by the school authorities.
According to the group, the school authorities have adopted victimisation, wrongful dismissal, forceful eviction and intimidation as a mode of punishment for wrongdoing though most of the cases are before courts of competent jurisdiction.
Speaking at an emergency press briefing last Friday, the Campaign and Fundraising Coordinator of Amnesty International, Ghana, Mr Samuel K. Agbotsey, said the aim is to draw the attention of the international community, the President, the Minister of Education, the Parliament of Ghana, University Community of Ghana and the general public to the unfortunate happenings at UEW, which, if not stopped immediately, will be disastrous to the rights, image and reputation of individuals and the university as a whole.
Mr Agbotsey said Amnesty International is an independent non-political organisation committed to the promotion of human rights worldwide.
“We have no personal or political interests. We do not support or oppose any individual or group of persons but solely concerned about the impartial protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms without discrimination,” he stated.
He said the group started following happenings within the UEW in July 2017.
Mr Agbotsey said the group discovered on-going cases of stoppage of staff salaries, rejection of authentic excuse duties signed by competent medical staff in credible State hospitals and attempts to dismiss staff based on a harmless post on WhatsApp.He revealed that some staff members are in the process of being dismissed for merely performing their official duties while others have become victims of mass transfer from Winneba to Mampong, Kumasi and Ajumako as punishment.
He said “today, we invited you to call attention to a very disturbing event of harassment and forced eviction that occurred at the UEW on May 3, 2018 where Dr Samuel Ofori Bekoe was hurriedly dismissed in April on allegations that are being investigated. The police are yet to establish a prima facie case, [and] currently the case is pending at Cape Coast High Court.”
Mr Agbotsey said Dr Bekoe was asked to vacate his official bungalow by April 30, but on May 3, 2018, the University authorities forcibly evicted the him from his official bungalow while it was raining.
The authorities went ahead to remove the doors to his official bungalow, leaving his items exposed, disconnected electricity to his house and cut off the only water supply to the bungalow.
Amnesty International also revealed another happening in February this year, where the family of another staff member, Dr Atintonoo, who is on post-doctoral Fulbright scholarship in the United States of America, was forcibly evicted.
In a telephone interview with the DAILY HERITAGE, Dr Bekoe said the event happened last Thursday around 10.00 a.m. when the Acting Head of Security of the University, together with the School’s Estate Officer, acting on the authority of the Acting Vice Chancellor, removed the doors to the bungalow to expose his items.
“They came again on Friday morning and removed every door in the bungalow, removed all louvres, mosquito net and any other item protecting my belongings though I have filed an injunction at the Cape Coast High Court,” he stated.
All efforts to reach the school authorities to react to the issues prove futile, including calls to the acting Vice Chancellor and the Public Affairs Unit of the institution.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International is calling on the Ministry of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education and the University Council to take immediate steps to address the human rights violations at the university.