Lawyer: The only way to ascertain whether Rastafarianism is a religion is to go to court.

A private legal practitioner has stated that before the court can make any substantive progress in resolving the standoff between the Achimota School and the parents of the two senior High School students who were refused admission due to their dreadlocks, the court must first decide if Rastafarianism is a religion or an association.
The two youngsters were denied entry to the Achimota School last week unless they cut their dreadlocks, which the school’s laws forbade.

In an earlier statement, the Ghana Education Service, GES, ordered the Headmistress of the Achimota School to admit the pupils.

“We have requested that she [the headmistress] admit the students. “The student is a Rastafarian, and if there is evidence to show that he is a Rastafarian, all he has to do is tie his hair neatly,” said Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Director-General of the GES.

The National Association of Graduate Teachers, or NAGRAT, called the GES’s bluff on Sunday, stating that the GES cannot order Achimota School to admit the pupils.

When the two students returned to the school on Monday, they were refused access for the second time.

Christian Malm -Hesse, a private legal practitioner, told Alfred Ocansey on the 3FM Sunrise Morning Show that

“When someone wears dreadlocks, it’s assumed that he’s either Rastafarian or wearing them for fashion. If you welcome someone and they say [I am a Rastafarian], do I have to cut all of your hair or do I have to defy some of your religion’s teachings in order to comply with school laws by cutting your hair? All of these are matters for the court to decide, which is why we must put the law to the test.”

“The best way to get this resolved is to go to court. We need a statement to uphold article 17 of the 1992 constitution’s human right, and once that is done, it will no longer be a prerogative of the Director General against another, or of a head teacher sitting in his armchair in a particular school. It will be thoroughly christened in the land’s laws. Article 17 states that all people are equal and that no one will be discriminated against because of their religion, creed, sex, or any other factor, and Rastafarian was considered a religion.”

Source: 3news


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