Human rights abuses constitute 96% of complaints to CHRAJ

Richard Quayson - Acting Commissioner, CHRAJ
Richard Quayson – Acting Commissioner, CHRAJ

On World Human Rights Day 2015, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says human rights abuses constitute 96 per cent of complaints received by the Commission.

The Acting Commissioner of CHRAJ Mr Richard Quayson, said out of a total 7,219 complaints received by the Commission as at October 2015, a whopping 6,932 of them were human rights issues.

The Acting Commissioner, in his remarks on the state of human rights, said the future of human rights in Ghana is bright as progress has been made despite the numerous challenges, and the Commission is on the verge of harnessing greater collaboration from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) for more effective implementation.

He said the Commission, having recognized the importance of partnering NHRIs, has assigned them stronger monitoring responsibilities in this era of pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on lessons learned from the Commission’s shortcomings while pursuing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“In recognition of the role of NHRIs in monitoring the implementation of the SDGs, CHRAJ will, as from 2016, harmonize its human rights mandate, agenda and programmes with the SDGs’ goals and targets”, Mr Quayson added.

He disclosed that pursuant to that, the Deputy Commissioner, Joseph Whittal was elected in October to serve on a five-member working group set up by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Associations, to harness the contribution of NHRIs in attaining the SDGs.

However, the Commission says Ghana’s treaty reporting practice would need to be enhanced and a rights-based approach to development would have to be adopted by Ghana if human rights are to be protected.

Unfortunately, Mr Quayson said some state institutions, citing lack of funds, had still not satisfactorily implemented the 2013 recommendations of CHRAJ, bordering on payment of capitation grant arrears, national health insurance, school feeding, communication for the speech and hearing-impaired and provision of sanitation in prisons and police cells.

The Commission says it has resolved 611 of a total 691 complaints on early and forced child marriage that it received between 2008 and 2015.

During the year, the Acting Commissioner said CHRAJ made inputs into several bills and policies with human rights implications including the Conduct of Public Officers Bill, the draft Affirmative Action Bill, and amendments to the Disability Act and Whistleblowers Act.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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