Bright Appiah is the Executive Director of Child Rights International

Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah has stated that an Accra High Court ruling, ordering Achimota School to admit two Rastafarian students is still in force despite the School’s decision to appeal the ruling.

“Once a ruling has been given, all the things that are required for the fulfilment of that ruling, for me, should continue and then we would ensure that the lawyer for Tyrone would enforce that and then whatever we need to ensure that their fundamental rights are protected, we will also go ahead and do that,” he said.

Speaking on JoyFM’s Top Story, Tuesday, June 1, Mr Appiah stated that Tyrone Iras Marhguy and Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea have earned the legitimate right to be enrolled in the said school devoid of any intimidation.

“We expect that the children will be accepted in Achimota School. They will enjoy every right they deserve to enjoy in that environment while the appeal goes on. If the court decides to grant them the injunction pending the ruling of the appeal, then that is also another matter altogether. But so far as we are concerned, the right of these children must be given to them. We would ensure that that happens,” Bright Appiah said.

He also added that, “We expect that professionally, Achimota School will conduct themselves in that manner. As to whether they want to appeal and this is relating to the governing council of the school, there are other administrative staff that must work and they should continue to deliver whatever it is to the benefit of these children.”

Mr Appiah noted that it would be a case of contempt should Achimota School deny the two Rastafarians admission on the basis it has filed an appeal.

His comments follow a press statement issued by the Board Council of Achimota School declaring its decision to file an appeal against the admission of the two Rastafarian students.

“The Governing Board of Achimota School was represented in court yesterday, 31 May 2021, and has learned of the outcome of the case brought against it by two persons who had earlier applied to be admitted to the School. The court ruled that the religious rights of the the applicants had been violated by the School Management as they sought to enforce time-tested and well-known rules of the School. The court further directed the School to admit the two applicants. We disagree with the court’s judgement,” the Statement from Achimota School read.

In Bright Appiah’s opinion, credence should not be given to the press statement since it bears no name.

According to Mr Appiah, the decision by Achimota’s Board to file an appeal is surprising as the school is noted for recognising the fundamental rights of all people in that environment.

“We expect that if you are managing a school your interest is to protect the interest of children in that school but if you seem to defend the decision of the Board which has no bearing on the rights of children, then I don’t see what you are doing in that environment. If the children are not there, the administrative staff will not exist, teachers will not exist,” he stated.

He, however, admitted that the school’s Board has the right to file an appeal.

“Whatever the Board wants to do in respect to them claiming that they disagree with the court and for that matter they want to file an appeal, that one it’s purely within their domain.”

The decision whether to admit the students he said lies in the hands of the Minister for Education, Dr Osei Adu-Twum and the Ghana Education Service (GES) and not the governing council of Achimota.

For him, it would be worrying should the aforementioned stakeholders subscribe to the current decision of Achimota School.

“The powers to ensure that the rights of children are respected in the school, does not lie in the hands of the governing authority. It lies in the hands of the Education Minister and the Ghana Education Service. So if the GES and the Minister conform to the conduct of Achimota that would raise a big question as to whether the system respects the rights of children,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Appiah has advised the students to focus on their studies rather than being distracted by the ongoing disagreements.

“With that attitude, I don’t think that anybody can intimidate them in that process,” he concluded.