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Canada: Ghanaians Mourn Passing Away of Envoy

14 December 2011 at 02:54 | 681 views

Ghanaians and friends of Ghana all over Canada are currently mourning the sudden passing away, a couple of weeks ago, in Ottawa, of High Commissioner Dr. Richard Turkson, a man who had won the hearts of most people that had met him in his travels across Canada, meeting and interacting with fellow Ghanaians and potential investors to his country.

The late Dr. Richard Turkson (photo) was a legal luminary in Ghana both as a senior member of the judiciary and university law professor before he recently took up his diplomatic assignment in Ottawa, the Canadian capital. He had earlier lost his son while still in Ottawa.

Most Ghanaians in Vancouver, Western Canada, would remember his visit to their city in June this year. Patriotic Vanguard publisher Gibril Koroma, who once lived and worked in Ghana, was there and filed a report on the High Commissioner’s visit and later had a chat with him on the phone from Ottawa. The late diplomat knew Sierra Leone well and had many Sierra Leonean friends that he had met in his various assignments abroad.

Here is a link on the late Richard Turkson’s visit to Vancouver:

Background of the late Dr. Richard Turkson

Dr. Richard B. Turkson was from 1990 to 1993 Africa Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) whose headquarters is located in London, UK. In November 1993, he was reassigned to the newly-created post of IPPF Legal Consultant (Africa), a position he held until July 1995.

He had been Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon; Visiting Professor, Temple University Law School, Philadelphia, USA; Commonwealth Secretariat Technical Expert attached to the Department of Law, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius; Member of the General Legal Council, the statutory body charged with the function of regulating the legal profession in Ghana; National President, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, and Member of the National Census Technical Advisory Committee (2000 Population and Housing Census).

He had led several Ghana Government delegations to meetings of the UNFPA Executive Board (1998-2000) and the UN Commission on Population and Development (2002 and 2003). He also actively participated as a member of Ghana Government delegations to The Hague Forum (1999); the ICPD + 5 Review (New York, 1999); the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (2001), and the ICPD + 10 Review (New York, 2004).

He had been a member of the Ghana Bar for a long time and has practised extensively in the Courts of Ghana as Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court. He was Vice-Chairman-cum-Rapporteur of the 35th Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development (2002-2003).

Before his appointment as High Commissioner, he was on retirement from the Public Service of Ghana and consulting for non-governmental organizations such as IPPF Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya, IPAS Africa Alliance Office, Nairobi, Kenya, African Population Advisory Council, Nairobi, Kenya.

His broad areas of interest include the following:

- Gender and human rights, particularly promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive rights at the national and international levels
the critical role of African parliamentarians and other law-making institutions in promulgating relevant laws affecting sexual and reproductive health and rights.
His publications and conference presentations include:

- The Family Planning Movement in Africa: the Pathway to Recognition;
Reproductive Rights within the Context of Current International Human Rights Instruments;

- The History of Family Planning in West Africa: 1964 – 2004 and Legal and Policy Barriers to Family Planning in Swaziland, Zambia, Senegal and Burkina Faso (edited by Turkson and published by IPPF as a tool for advocacy at the NGO Forum preceding the historic Beijing Conference in 1995).

Editor’s Note: On behalf of the Patriotic Vanguard, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the Turkson family, the NDC government in Ghana and to all Ghanaians at home and abroad for this very sad occurrence.