By Zoe Ackah, Epoch Times Staff, Feb 07, 2008-
KUMASI, Ghana— The Human Rights Torch Relay touched down in Kumasi, Ghana last Tuesday.
Ghana is having a stellar year, celebrating it’s 50th anniversary of independence in 2007, currently heading the African Union, as well as hosting the African Cup of Nation’s which will wrap up February 10.
(photo: Members of the Kumasi Metropolitian Assembly Hon. Thomas Sakyi (left), Thomas Mullen (centre), and member of Ghana’s Society for the Aged Ebenezer Wilson hold the Human Rights Torch, February 5, 2008 at the Kumasi Centre for National Culture. /Zoe Ackah, The Epoch Times)
The Human Rights Torch Relay took place amidst the Cup of Nations festivities, hosted in part by the Kumasi Sports Village, a venue set up as part of the celebrations surrounding the CAN.
The message of the torch relay was broadcast loud and clear: “Se fahodie nni Beiging a Olimpic akansie ho nhia : The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China.”
The HRTR’s Ghana welcome was an all day event, beginning with a march through Adum that ended at the Kumasi’s Centre for National Culture. The march was attended by the King Faisal Football Club, who acted as the Ghanaian athletic torch ambassadors. The Centre for Youth Empowerment and the Christ Power Ministry members held banners and handed out flyers along the parade route.
The torch was received at the Centre for National Culture by Kumasi Metropolitian Assemblymen Hon. Thomas Sakyi and Hon. Thomas Mullen.
When asked about his experience lighting the torch as the representative for Kumasi, Hon. Thomas Sakyi commented, “I was very, very delighted. It was very significant in my lifetime and it will be history in my lifetime. It will be a pleasure for our community to know that an assemblyman from our area has lighted the torch. It will be in the history book, Genesis upon Genesis. That message there must reach the whole world.”
The keynote speech was given by Director of Amnesty International, Ghana, Michael Brigandi. “China is the country that is hosting the Olympic games, and at the same time China is a country which is violating human rights—killing a group of people known as Falun Gong and removing their organs for sale, just as how in Ghana here you can dismantle a car and sell the parts. That is done to human being is this country (China),” said Brigandi.
“…and we are here today … to let the people of China know that what is happening there is not secret. The people of the world, including Ghana, are all aware that the government there is killing people…that is why Amnesty International in conjunction with world renowned human right organizations, like the Human Rights Torch … is campaigning and gathering signatures for the Chinese government, to drive the message home, that China may stop violating the rights or their citizens”
Habib Ali, Director of the Centre for Youth Empowerment (CYE), an Islamic youth group, addressed the audience and the International Olympic Committee, “I am very greatful to be here on behalf of CYE to be part of the fight against the torture of the helpless Falun Gong practitioners, the Uighurs Muslim of Xingjiang in China, and other members of the human family whose rights are still been abused around the world.”
Ali added, “41,500 organs were probably taken from the unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at the very centre where the greatest world sporting event, the Olympics, shall be held this year. In another unfortunate development, the Chinese government is directing a crush down campaign against some 8 million Uighurs Muslims of Xingjiang in China under the shadow of the worldwide campaign against terrorism.
“Chinese policy and law enforcement are denying these Muslims their right of religion as required in Islam. Celebrating religious holidays, studying religious text or showing one’s religion through personal appearance at state institutions are strictly forbidden, even in schools.
“Intensive surveillance machinery is imposed on mosques, and schools are purged of
religious teachers and students. Clerical duties and what version of the Qur’an should be recited are supervised by the government! This is telling us that the Chinese communist government is unwilling to follow the Olympic charter as it hosts the event.”
After the speeches, members of King Faisal football club and other members of the local sporting community played a mini-gala soccer match……. ( More details from the Epochtimes)