Ghana’s record in the delivery of social and economic rights and advancements in civil and political rights are strong indicators of the nation’s good human rights record, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has stated.
He was speaking at the Fourth Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on January 24.
Mr Dame who led a high powered Ghanaian delegation from different state institutions told member states that Ghana had a stellar record in providing access to good quality education to persons with disability, good health care and protection of the rights of (LGBTQ).
Touching on Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill currently before Parliament, Mr Dame said the office of Attorney-General had submitted its opinion to Parliament to ensure the Bill was in compliance with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, particularly, Chapter “5” which relates to fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, under whose stewardship a Community Sentencing Bill had been enacted and undergoing consultation, said when passed into law, it would help decongest the prisons.
He said Ghana uses technology to register new births, migrants at refugee camps and those seeking asylum.
While acknowledging that no nation could boast of achieving universal rights for citizens, Mr Dame said Ghana had a formidable reputation in protecting the rights and freedoms of Ghanaians.
“I am confident that you will all agree with me that attaining a perfect human rights record is an exercise in progress, and that no Member State can claim perfection. However, we go back home confident about the credentials of Ghana as a strong democratic nation with a formidable reputation in the protection of human rights and freedoms of all persons and with an independent and fearless Judiciary ready to provide a remedy for abuses”.
He recalled that Ghana in 2017, Ghana accepted and implemented 212 out of 241 recommendations made during the 3rd cycle review.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice enumerated the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) which had been delegated with prosecutorial powers by the office of Attorney-General, a draft Mining and Minerals Bill to bring more women into the industry, and the passage of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) (Amendment) Act, 2022 (Act 1079) to formally introduce plea bargaining into the criminal jurisprudence of Ghana and the Justice for All Programme as some reforms in justice delivery.
The UPR mechanism of the Human Rights Council is a process established by the United Nations in 2006 and involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 United Nations Member States.
It provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to fulfil their human rights obligations and to share good practices in this regard.
Each State’s presentation is assessed by all the member states who may elect to present questions on various matters.
The UPR process offers an effective way to monitor progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
BY MALIK SULLEMANA