Profile of CHRAJ Commissioner – Joseph Whittal
Information made available to the Ghana News Agency indicates that from 2012 until the appointment as Commissioner, Mr Whittal served as CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner.
The New CHRAJ Commissioner from 2012 to date was appointed member of the Steering Committee on the Open Government Initiative (OGPI); and from 2008 to 2012 he was a Director Legal and Investigations at Commission’s Head Office, Accra.
From 1994 to 2008: appointed CHRAJ Regional Director in charge of the Upper East Region; 1992 to 1994: appointed State Attorney at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney – General’s Department and 1991 to 1992: Member/Legal Officer, Office of the Revenue Commissioners.
Mr Whittal did his national service with the Legal Aid Board where he served as a Legal Officer from 1990 to 1991 at the Zonal Office at Tamale for the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.
The CHRAJ Commissioner’s education background indicated that: University of Cape Coast – 2005 – 2006; Ghana Law School-1988 – 1990; and University of Ghana – Legon -1985 – 1988.
Academic and Professional Qualifications and Certificates awarded to Mr Whittal included: 2010 to 2011-United Kingdom Commonwealth Professional Fellowship (Attachment), Certificate and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Intelligence based anti-corruption investigations, Certificate.
Between 2005 and 2009: University of Pretoria- South Africa – Conflict Management Course for National Human Rights Institutions- Centre for Conflict Management.
Raoul Wallenberg Institute, University of Lund – Kenya National Human Rights Institutions and the Paris Principles; Abo Akademie, Finland Promoting and protecting Economic and Social Rights; and Copenhagen Denmark DANIDA Fellowship course in Leadership of Public Sector Institutions.
Others are: Copenhagen, Denmark DANIDA Fellowship course in Institutional Change Management; GIMPA, Ghana Corporate Governance course for Board Members; and University of Cape Coast, Ghana Masters (MA) in Democracy, Governance and Human Rights (DGL).
From 1990 to 1998 Mr Whittal had LLB (Hon) University of Ghana, Ghana Bachelor of Laws Degree; B.L, Ghana School of Law Barrister at Law, Postgraduate Diploma; and Ghana Law School, Ghana Law School Premier Best student Prize Certificate in Industrial Law.
The rest are: Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Ghana Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); and Banjul, The Gambia, Certificate in the use of International Human Rights Procedures.
Among International Courses and Training Programmes Mr Whittal had participated in between 1998 and 2005: Banjul, The Gambia, the 24th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights – with the status of an observer.
Sweden and Kenya – participated in the Regional Training Programme in Human Rights for Representatives from National Human Rights Institutions in Africa – April 2005 – Nairobi Kenya – sponsored by Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law – Lund University – Sweden in collaboration with the Kenya Commission on Human Rights.
Study tour of the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman, Patients complaint Board; Nature and Environmental Complaint Agency in Denmark
London, United Kingdom participated in “Effective Investigations of complaint by Ombudsmen Institutions” organised by Governance and Management Services International (GMSI).
From 2007 to 2010 – South Africa, participated in Conflict Management by National Human Rights Institution; United Kingdom, Commonwealth Professional attachment to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) and the Northern Ireland Ombudsman (N I O) in the United Kingdom – 2010.
Regional Leadership Roles: Trainer of the Network of National African National Human Rights Institutions – NANHRI.
Mr Whittal had also served as a NANHRI staff on diverse human rights thematic issues including: The African architecture for the promotion and protection of human rights; Civil and Political rights; Economic, Social and Cultural rights; women and children rights.
The rights of the Aged: HIV and Aids; Sexual orientation and gender identity and education.
Presently, Mr Whittal is engaged in building the capacity of National Human Rights Institutions in Africa and advocating legal and constitutional reforms to bring African Human Rights Institutions in line with the requirements of the Paris Principles of the United Nations in building effective institutions.
Trainer of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AORC) Appointed by the University of Kwazulu Natal -based African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) under the auspices of AOMA as Trainer of staff of the Ombudsman Institutions in Africa.
The new CHRAJ Commissioner is also training Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone African Ombudsman Institutions staff.
Member of Steering Committee of NANHRI – became a member of NANHRI in 2014 and responsible for managing the operations of the NANHRI through a Secretariat based in Nairobi, Kenya.
On International Leadership Roles from 2014 to date Mr Whittal was elected as a Working Group (WG) member of the International Coordination Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
United Kingdom- appointed Advisory Committee Member of the University of Essex, Access to Justice Project.
Other national leadership roles: 2000 to 2009- Ghana Member – ADISS Project Advisory Committee- GII/SEND/GACC.
President (2001- 2008) Upper East – Ghana Bar Association (GBA); Board Member (2003-2009) – ARB APEX BANK LTD; Mini-Central Bank for rural Banks in Ghana; and Vice Chair of the Builsa Community Bank, Sandema – 1996- 2008.
Partner of Ayieta Law Consult – 1994- 2008; Government Appointee to the Builsa District Assembly in the Upper East Region- 1994- 2008; and Chairman of the Justice and Security Sub Committee of Builsa District Assembly 1994- 2008.
International Conferences/ Seminars Attended Recently 2010 to 2015:
Edinburgh, Scotland, 10th Biennial Conference of the International Coordination Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the promotion and protection of Human Rights (ICC).
Merida, Mexico, 12th International Conference of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) focused on “the Sustainable Development Goals: what role for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).
Brussels, Special Event of the European Commission with National Human Rights Institutions on the occasion of European Development Days – Brussels – 2015.
Abidjan, La Cote D’Ivoire, Ministerial Conference on Statelessness in West Africa; Yaounde, Cameroun, 10th Biennial Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) Conference.
Mr Whittal has also contributed as a resource person, consultant, facilitator, panelist or expert in events hosted by, among others to Inter-governmental bodies, National Human Rights Institutions, Governments, Judiciaries and Universities.
Selected Publications and Articles and Presentations: Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) – a hybrid Ombudsman with multiple mandates- Article published in the British and Irish Ombudsman Association (BIOA) Journal- 2010.
Fused or Un-fused: Weighing the advantages and challenges of the triple institutional mandate of the CHRAJ of Ghana – Paper delivered at a Colloquium of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) in Kenya, 2013.
“Ghana’s Democratisation Process so far: The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in focus” – presented at a Roundtable Discussion organised by IDEG and published in Ghana Speaks Lecture Series.
The role of National Human Rights Institutions in the protection of economic social and cultural rights (ESCRs) – the case of Ghana presented at a panel discussion organized by the European Commission on the occasion of European Development Days (EDD), 2014.
Merida, Mexico, Implementing the SDGs – Practical lessons learnt in the implementation of the MDGs that are useful in implementing the SDGs- Ghana’s Experience- at the 12th International Conference of the ICC, 2015.
Malta, “Child Early Forced Marriage- Taking forward the Kigali Declaration on CEFM- A case study of Ghana” – Presentation made at the parallel event of the first “Women’s Forum” at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2015.
“Freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and the narrowing of civil society space” – Presentation made at the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (CFNHRIs) parallel event at CHOGM, 2015