184 on death row in Ghana – Amnesty Int’l report

 Total of 184 convicts are on death row in Ghana as at April this year, according to Am­nesty International’s World Human Rights 2023 report.

The tally increased from last year’s 180 after four persons were sentenced to death during the first quarter of this year.

The report, in relation to Gha­na, focuses on witchcraft accusa­tions, women’s and girls’ rights, sexual minority rights, excessive use of force, right to health and environmental issues.

Mr George Aggrey,Former Board Chair, AI, Ghana(fourth from right) with dignitaries and development partners launching the report. Photo Godwin Ofosu-Acheampong

The report, which was launched in Accra, yesterday, in­dicated that the convicts included seven women and 10 foreign nationals.

The event attracted stakehold­ers, including government officials, members of parliament, and representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs), political party representatives and queen mothers.

Discussing the report, Board Vice Chairman of Amnesty Inter­national Ghana, Charity Batuure, said although Ghana had taken steps to abolish the death penalty, there was the need for concrete steps to ensure its complete abo­lition.

She explained that, while Ghana had not carried out any ex­ecutions since 1993, it was critical that the government commute the death sentences of those on death row to life sentences.

Director of Amnesty Inter­national, Genevieve Partington, reiterated the need for Ghana to promote human rights, democra­cy and justice, particularly during electioneering.

She commended Ghana for its efforts in decriminalising attempt­ed suicide and amending the Criminal Offences Act, to provide medical and psychological assis­tance to individuals, who attempt to take their own lives.

 Ms Partington also applaud­ed the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, which marked a significant step towards a more humane drug policy.

She called on the government to reintroduce the bill criminalising witchcraft accusations and priori­tise the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill aimed at increasing women’s participation in public office.

Ms Partington urged the media, state actors and civil society organ­isations to collaborate efforts in addressing human rights concerns.

She expressed concern over the President’s refusal to sign the Armed Forces Amendment Bill.

Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Alfred Tuah Yeboah, said the government would take the necessary steps to implement the recommendationsin the report.

Mr Joseph Whittal, Commis­sioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administra­tive Justice (CHRAJ), called on the President and Parliament to resolveall constitutional conflicts that had delayed the signing of the revised Criminal Offences Act.

Mr Whittal urged the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to ensure passage of the Affirmative Action Bill before the end of his term in office.

The former President, John Dramani Mahama, in a statement read on his behalf, pledge to com­mute the death sentences of all 184 convicts on death row to life imprisonment.

Additionally, he said, if re-elected, his government would review the provision on death penalty in Ghana’s criminal of­fenses act.

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