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As part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, Ghana’s government made vaccination mandatory to gain access to public and private institutions across the country, and instituted travel restrictions which ban unvaccinated adults from flying into the country. Unvaccinated Ghanaian citizens flying in from elsewhere must be vaccinated at the airport, and anyone wanting to fly out of the country must also be vaccinated.
However, these restrictions which were introduced in December do not sit well with several groups and individuals who have filed law suits asking the court to, among other things, declare the imposition of these travel restrictions and mandatory vaccinations unlawful.
In the first suit which was filed by the National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi and three other persons have sued the Attorney General, Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Airport Company over compulsory vaccinations at the Kotoka International Airport. They argued that the mandatory vaccination policy and travel restrictions had no legal backing as they contravened aspects of the constitution.
“There are many Ghanaian citizens abroad such as the 4th Applicant herein who although are desirous to travel to Ghana their motherland and many people in Ghana such as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Applicants, who although are desirous to travel out of Ghana to other countries for business or other important purposes, have been held hostage and are unable to do so due to the unlawful and unreasonable directives and conduct of the respondents,” a portion of their suit read.
Opposition to the restrictions is gradually gaining momentum as a group of doctors, calling itself the Coalition for Public Health and Justice has also filed a suit against Ghana’s mandatory vaccination policy and restrictions of movement. The group observed in its suit that some restrictions had been placed on the movements of unvaccinated persons without the issuance of an Executive Instrument by the President.
“Per Article 21 (4) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 2(1) of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), it is only the President of the Republic of Ghana who has the power to impose restriction on the right to freedom of movement by issuing an Executive Instrument on the advice of a relevant body or person,” read a portion of their suit.
“Checks at the Assembly Press as at the time of this suit showed that the President of the Republic of Ghana has not issued any Executive Instrument imposing Covid-19 vaccination restrictions on the right to freedom of movement. Neither did the impugned directives of the respondents make any reference whatsoever to any such Executive Instrument.”
They further argued that the government’s mandatory vaccination rollout breaches the Public Health Act. “The impugned directives of the respondents which mandate the said Covid-19 vaccines for all persons including those who have fully recovered from Covid-19 infections and have developed natural immunity to the disease, contravene Section 21(2) and 25 (1) (b) of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) and is unreasonable.”
The coalition is thus seeking a declaration that the mandatory vaccination policy and restrictions on movement breach some provisions of Ghana’s constitution.
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