Adopt Advisory Opinion Ruling Against Vagrancy Laws – CCF

adopt advisory opinion ruling against vagrancy laws ccf

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Crime Check Foundation (CCF), a crime prevention advocacy organization has urged the government to adopt a recent advisory opinion ruling against vagrancy laws.

The African Court on Human and Peoples Rights ruled on December 4, 2020, that laws that criminalise homelessness, poverty, or unemployment are overly broad and allow for abuse.

The Court held that such laws which punish individuals for their status rather than their actions, are a discriminatory and disproportionate State response, and violate numerous human rights – including specific rights of children and women.

Mr Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Executive Director of CCF gave the advice at a press conference in Accra as part of the CCF’s implementation of the ‘Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy’ (DVLA) project.

Since May 2021, CCF has been implementing DVLA project in 12 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Central Regions of Ghana.

The overall goal of the project is to create an enabling environment for homeless/vagrants and other poor persons to know, claim and exercise their rights to end ‘criminalization of poverty’ in Ghana.

The project, funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), also seeks to increase the knowledge of citizens on the bylaws of the 12 MMDA’s to reduce harassment, arrests, fines, and imprisonments of poor and voiceless persons under the MMDA’s bylaws.

Mr Kwarteng said when Justice Institutions and stakeholders are guided by the ruling against vagrancy laws, the rights of poor and voiceless citizens would be protected.

He urged the government and related agencies to be guided by the opinion ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights.

Mr Kwarteng, who also an Ambassador Extraordinaire of the Ghana Prisons Service, condemned unjustified swoop on homeless unemployed youth by the police, and urged that those operations should be intelligence-led to avoid human right abuses that aggravates economic and social lives of these poor and voiceless persons.

He called on MMDAs to educate citizens on their byelaws and urged the review of prison terms under those laws and appealed to Parliament to quicken the process towards them.

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