The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has injected dynamism into the 2015 celebration of the International Human Rights day with the release of “CHRAJ 2015 State of Human Right,” report in Accra.
The report recommends the strengthening of inter-ministerial committee on human rights to effectively address the weakness identified in the State’s treaty reporting obligation.
It tasked the Ministries of Justice and Attorney General; and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to strengthen their coordinating role.
The report also called for strengthening of follow up mechanism for implementing recommendations and comments from treaty obligations accepted as valid to ensure that the country makes advances in human rights promotion.
Mr Richard A. Quayson, acting CHRAJ Commissioner who launched the report at a ceremony to mark International Human Rights day in Ghana, noted that although there are still significant challenges and weaknesses identified in the State of Human Rights in the country, “Ghana continues to make progress in the promotion and protection of rights”.
International Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10, to mark the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organisations to observe December 10 of each year as Human Rights Day.
Mr Quayson noted that CHRAJ has set up Health Rights Unit (HRU) dedicated to the protection of the rights of vulnerable people particularly Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV).
He said as a result of the development, CHRAJ has set up an online reporting system called the “Discrimination Reporting System,” (DRS) to protect the rights of PLHIV, especially human rights violations bordering on stigma and discrimination in relations to access to services – health, education and employment opportunities.
The acting CHRAJ Commissioner said the setting up of HRU has provided the necessary platform for PLHIV and civil society organizations to report cases and complaints of human rights violations, adding, “so far the system has received 59 complaints”.
Mr Joseph Whittal, CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner, said CHRAJ and the Judiciary continued to promote and protect the rights and freedoms as guaranteed through individual cases on litigation and investigations.
He, however, called on government and all State institutions to deepen the human rights based approach to national development to make human rights truly “Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always”.
Mr Whittal used the occasion to commend civil society organizations, media practitioners and other stakeholders for the critical role they had played in protecting and safeguarding “our rights and our freedoms, always.
“They, together with the Commission have often drawn attention of the public when freedoms and rights are being endangered with a call to their protection”.
This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966.
The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.
The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago.
The commemoration was attended by students, academia, human rights advocates, media practitioners, gender advocates, security officers, politicians, and a cross section of the general public.