Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of religious practice, freedom to belong to a political party of one’s choice, freedom to petition the executive and hold demonstration are all enshrined in the Constitution. How they are to be exercised is provided for by laws that are supposed to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
The legislature is empowered to make the laws. The judiciary is empowered not only to interpret the laws but to examine whether they are reasonable and justifiable in a democratic society.
The police is charged with the responsibility of enforcing respect for the law to prevent criminal behaviour or arrests and facilitate the prosecution of those who are accused of violating the law. Certain matters are civil matters which are outside the province of the police. Others are criminal matters to be handled by them.
Where the legitimate exercise of rights stops and violation of law starts is a knowledge base that every police officer must be equipped with.
At this very moment Foroyaa would wish to advise that the police leadership commences consultation with the Attorney General’s office on issues that they consider to be challenges, examine whether there are adequate laws providing remedies and then conduct civic awareness campaigns along with the AG Chambers to sensitise the public on what the law says to guide the public.
We hope the establishment of the Human Rights Commission would enable the public to know where their exercise of rights ends and where violation of the law starts.