UN sends expert to assess contemporary slavery in Ghana

UNA United Nations expert has been sent to assess slavery-like practices in Ghana, the UN announced November 20, 2013 after a Ghana government invitation.

The UN Special Rapporteur Ms Gulnara Shahinian will visit Ghana from November 22 to 29, 2013, to assess the situation on the ground with regard to contemporary slavery in the country.

“I will explore strategies to address the current challenges in ending such practices, including the use of the worst forms of child-labour in a number of economic sectors, and other forms of contemporary slavery that are often less visible such as domestic servitude, and those emerging from harmful traditional practices,” Ms. Shahinian said.

The expert is expected to gather first-hand information from all relevant stakeholders, including the Government, civil society, affected communities and UN counterparts working on “issues relevant to her mandate, which includes a range of issues and forms of contemporary slavery such as servile marriages and forced and bonded labour”.

During her nine-day visit, Ms Shahinian indicated she will discuss good practices and the impact of policies and programmes which have been adopted to both prevent and address slavery-like practices.

“As importantly, I will also conduct field visits so that I can speak to victims and discuss their experiences, challenges and solutions first-hand,” she added.

A press conference will be held in Accra November 29, 2013, at the conclusion of Ms. Shahinian’s visit.

A comprehensive report on the findings of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2014.

Ms. Shahinian is the first UN independent expert monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences to visit Ghana.

By Ekow Quandzie

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