CSOs ready to work with government to improve human rights record
Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director, POS Foundation, has said Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would strengthen their partnership with the Government to improve the human rights records of Ghana.
Mr Osei said this at the UPR In-Country Monitoring Meeting between the Diplomatic Community and human rights organisations, in Accra.
He said the partnership would ensure the implementation of the recommendations made by United Nations (UN) member states at the 2017 Universal Periodic Review (UPR), UN Human Rights Review of Ghana, held in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the 2017 Review, the most recommendations given to Ghana were related to strengthening efforts towards the Abolition of the death penalty and also enhancing the protection of the rights of people perceived to be Gays, Lesbians, Transgender, Bi-sexual (LGBT).
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism established by the United Nations (UN) to peer-review, and to examine the human rights records of each Member State, every five years.
The Government of Ghana, led by the Attorney General, Madam Gloria Akuffo, on Tuesday, November 7, presented the 2017 UPR Report of Ghana in Geneva, on actions taken so far to improve the human rights situation in Ghana, including access to justice and right to life, freedom of expression, disability rights, women and children’s rights and right to work.
Ghana was also highly commended by many member states on her Justice for All initiative to help decongest the prisons, School Feeding Programme and the Free Education Programme.
Ghana’s human rights record has been reviewed at the Human Rights Council’s UPR in 2008, 2012 and 2017.
In 2012, Ghana received 150 recommendations from 63 States. Out of these recommendations, the majority was accepted, while 25 were noted.
Mr Osei, who also doubles as the Convernor of the UPR for CSOs, said: “Ghana is noted for accepting lot of recommendations.From previous records you can see, but at the end of the day, the implementation of those recommendations becomes an issue.
“This time, civil society would want to partner government very well to make sure that the recommendations that have been made, particularly, those that the State would accept, receive a lot of commitment towards its implementation so that human rights in all aspect, will receive attention and then there will be progress in our human right records so that we don’t go back the next five years to the Human Rights Council and receive the same recommendations over and over again.”
He commended Madam Akuffo and her team for giving a vivid account of the Human Rights record of the country.
Dr Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, commended CSOs in Ghana for their commitments towards human rights.
She said the UPR process was a unique instrument because it gave opportunity to all member states to come together and think critically on the progress that had been made in human rights protection.
She stated that the UN was committed to working with the Ministry of Justice, CSOs and partners to help Ghana respond to the ratifications that came from the UPR review.
Mr Rustum G. Nyquist, the Political Officer at the U S Embassy, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), also commended the country for its Justice for All Programme and her achievements so far in human rights.
He, however, urged Ghana to implement the recommendations.
The meeting was facilitated by POS Foundation, which currently serves as the Secretariat of the Ghana Human Rights NGOs.