Ghana Ghana: Promotion Mission, 2008

Dates:1 - 5 September 2008
Session:44th Ordinary Session
10 - 24 November 2008. Abuja, Nigeria
Commissioner: Musa Ngary Bitaye

The delegation was composed of Commissioner Musa Ngary Bitaye, member of the African Commission responsible for human rights promotion in Ghana and Chairperson of the  Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa, Dr. Robert Eno, Senior Legal Officer (Protection) and Mrs. Oluwatosin Nguher, Legal Officer (Protection) of the Secretariat of the African Commission.

The terms of reference of the mission were as follows:
  • To promote the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the activities of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
  • To engage the Government of Ghana on the measures it has or is taking to implement its international human rights obligations in general and its obligations under the African Charter in particular;
  • To exchange views with the government of Ghana on the challenges it may be facing in fulfilling its international and regional human rights obligations and the extent to which the African Commission can assist;
  • To exchange views with other human rights stakeholders in Ghana on ways and means of promoting and protecting human rights in the country;
  • To encourage closer collaboration between the African Commission and the State on the one hand, and between the African Commission and civil society organisations on the other; and
  • To encourage the government to participate regularly in the activities of the Commission including attending sessions of the Commission.
Recommendations
  1. The government should submit its Periodic Report in conformity with Article 62 of the African Charter;
  2. The government should, in collaboration with the Judiciary, organize regular training for members of the Judiciary on the use of international treaties and human rights decisions, and take steps to incorporate international treaties into domestic law;
  3. The government should take steps to domesticate the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international human rights instruments it has ratified;
  4. The government should ratify all the international and regional human rights instruments it is yet to ratify, including in particular, the Merged Single Document of the African Court on Justice and human rights, and make the declaration under Article 34 (6) thereto;
  5. The government should take steps to establish independent prison monitoring bodies, with adequate funding and other facilities;
  6. The government should consider adopting non-custodial punishments such as community services and fines, especially for minor crimes and petty offences;
  7. The government should investigate allegations of deaths and disproportionate use of force by the police in arresting illegal miners. Investigations should also be conducted on  allegations of deaths caused by private security companies recruited by the mining companies. Those found guilty should be brought to justice.
  8. The government should consider establishing an independent Police oversight body to investigate all allegations of police malpractices.
  9. The government and other political figures should ensure respect for and the independence of the judiciary.
  10. The government should ensure that laws, policies and other pieces of legislation such as the State Secrets Act which place unnecessary restrictions on access to information be  amended to ensure easy access to information with due regard to the security of the State.
  11. Adequate resources should be provided to independent institutions such as the CHRAJ to ensure they fully accomplish their mandates.
  12. The government should abolish the death penalty;
  13. Law enforcement agencies, in particular, the police, the judiciary and the prison service should set up mechanisms to deal with the problem of pretrial detainees and the backlog of cases;
  14. The government should promote more sensitization campaigns, and where necessary legislation to ensure that people with HIV/AIDS are not stigmatized or discriminated against,  especially in places of work;
  15. Government should put in place legislation to make ARVs free of charge;
  16. The government should increase funding for law enforcement agencies, in particular, the Prison Service;
  17. The government should take steps to encourage more women to join the Police Force, including the appointment of women in the higher echelon of the Force;
  18. The government should take urgent measures to eliminate the macho men and land guards phenomenon, as this may lead to lawlessness and encourage powerful and rich people taking the law into their own hands and exploiting the weak and the poor in society;
  19. Measures should be taken to tackle prison congestion. Such measures may include the introduction of community service and institution of fines for petty and minor offences;
  20. Female convicts should be tested to determine whether they are pregnant before being sent to jail;
  21. The government should ensure that refugees are provided the protection required under international law;
  22. The CHRAJ should be encouraged to apply for affiliate status with the African Commission and NGOs in the country should also be encouraged to attend the sessions of the African  Commission and be more involved in the activities of the latter;
  23. Efforts should be made to increase local capacity to manufacture medicines and lessen over dependence on imported medicines; and
  24. Government should participate more frequently at the Ordinary Sessions of the Commission.

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