Ghana’s failure to submit human rights reports to the African Commission on Human Rights for two decades may cast the country in a bad light, says Mrs Mercy Larbi, a Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
She has, therefore, urged the office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to make conscious effort to submit reports on 10 thematic areas to the Commission, which the country is a signatory to.
Mrs Larbi was speaking to the Ghanaian Times on Wednesday at a two-day workshop for the drafting of CSO Shadow Reports on UN Universal Periodic Review Mechanism-Ghana’s 4th Cycle in Accra.
The Deputy Commissioner said the 10 areas which Ghana had failed to submit reports to the African Commission for 20 years now, were the African Human Rights Report, treaty bodies including the Committee on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Committee on International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, among others.
Mrs Larbi said some of the reports were supposed to be done in two years and that Ghana could submit all the reports to the African Commission this year.
Turning her attention to the workshop which seeks to build the capacity of participants on the history, importance, stages, process and opportunities of the UPR and Ghana’s past review, Mrs Larbi said that in 2017, the last time Ghana’s report was reviewed, the country accepted 214 out of 241 recommendations by other countries.
She noted that civil society organisations and other independent institutions like CHRAJ were given the opportunity to submit reports to the UN, because the state whose responsible to submit those reports to the UN might submit a report that favours it.
Mrs Larbi told the Ghanaian Times that civil society organisations, including disability associations, the blind federation, women groups had up to July 14 to submit their report while the state was given up to October to submit its report.
For his part, Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director of POS Foundation said although Ghana was doing well in protecting the rights of Ghana, a lot more needed to be done.
He underscored the need for state actors to pay attention to mental health, disability, LGBTQ, violence against women and children and attacks on journalists.
Mr Owusu, also a human rights activist, urged the state to deepen collaboration with civil society organisation to make Ghana the best democratic nation in the world.
Mr Charles Bani, UN Resident Coordinator to Ghana, commended the country for its human rights track record and said the constitution was there to protect the rights of Ghanaians regardless of their social and political views.
He said the UPR mechanism was a key feature towards ensuring citizens do enjoy their rights.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA