Inculcate youth conflict resolution, peer mediation in basic education curricula – Austin Gamey

Labour and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Consultant, Mr Austin Gamey, has proposed the inclusion of youth conflict resolution and peer mediation in the country’s basic education curricula to empower them in addressing conflicts.

He explained that, recent happenings have shown that young people were the fuel of conflicts, hence the need to involve and train them in its resolution.

“Critically, we have to begin to train our children on youth conflict resolution and peer mediation to build them up in addressing conflicts. The youth are aware the older generation cannot deal with conflicts, we should prepare them to be able to nip conflict in the bud,” he added.

Mr Gamey was speaking in Accra on Wednesday at a national conference on the need to review the ADR Act and Legal Aid Commission Act to include petty offenses in the country.

It was organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in collaboration with the Legal Resource Centre (LRC) as part of the USAID Justice Sector Support Activity.

Making further recommendations on the Act, he called for training of police personnel on Ghana’s ADR processes to be able to identify and refer such matters to an ADR body.

He said although the police was involved in some form of conflict settlement, the police should be an impartial body in any ADR process.

Mr Michael Owusu, Representative of the Ghana ADR Hub, called for flexibility of the ADR law to allow judges use their discretion, where necessary in the disposal of ADR cases.

A rigid law, which does not promote the use of judge’s discretion, he noted, was likely to slow justice delivery.

“I would like to see an ADR Act that empowers the court to make their discretion to promote use of ADR for conflict resolution.

This should be aided by appropriate definition of petty offences and sensitisation of the populace on the need for ADR,” Mr Owusu added.

Philip OffeiAsamoah, Principal ADR Officer, Legal Aid Commission called for the establishment of supportive structures to promote police-connected ADR.

He said, although not legal, the police was already involved in the settlements of dispute which had contributed to peace and harmony in different communities.

He said such a process, which had produced good results in some cases, should have well-built structures and given legal backing.

Mr Stephen Okai-Aboagye, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, Prisons Headquarters, said prisons parole regulations had been developed with the approval of the Attorney General’s Office and currently undergoing fiscal impact assessment with the Ministry of Finance as a decongestion measure in prisons.

He called for the speedy passage of non-custodial sentencing laws to complement the implementation of ADR as part of efforts to address overcrowding in the country’s prisons.


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