A three-day strategic workshop opened in Accra on Tuesday for Civil Society Organisations to draw a roadmap for the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Mechanism.
The workshop, organised by POS Foundation, in collaboration with UPR Info Africa Kenya, was funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
It aimed at developing an action strategy to be used to monitor the implementation of the recommendations made by the Member States.
The POS currently serves as the Secretariat of the Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum.
Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director of POS Foundation, said from the 2008 to 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, and bi-sexual (LGBT).
“We are asking government to look at the 41 recommendations that have been noted and not accepted, in terms of LGBT, all we are saying is that they should not be discriminated against, their rights should be upheld in the sense that you cannot assault them or sack them from a gathering just because they are perceived to be gay, lesbians, or bi-sexual,” he said.
He said Ghana was highly commended in the 2017 Report by many member states on her School Feeding Programme; Free SHS Programme, Child and Women’s Rights, and Justice for All initiative to help decongest the prisons.
Mr Osei, who is also the Convenor of the UPR for CSOs, said they would draw up a strategy to lobby government to accept more than the 200 recommendations that had been accepted during the formal adoption on March 15, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ms Gifty Twum Ampofo, a Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said there was the need to ensure the proper mainstreaming of these recommendations into national planning system to ensure effective implementation and tracking of successes.
That, she said, would make for easy compilation of national report and effective monitoring.
Ms Ampofo congratulated the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General’s Department for getting Cabinet’s approval for the Inter-Ministerial National Mechanism for Reporting and follow-up of recommendations of the UPR of the Human Rights Council.
Ms Ampofo said that was a critical step in ensuring a successful implementation of the recommendations of the UPR.
Mr Sylvester Williams, a Senior State Attorney, said the Government was committed to ensuring that the recommendations were carried out, hence the approval of the request by the Attorney General to set up the Inter-Ministerial National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-ups.
He said it was essential for the CSOs to participate in the NMRF to ensure effective implementation of the recommendations.
Dr Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, commended CSOs 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 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.
The UPR is a mechanism established by the UN to peer review the human rights records of each member state every five years.
Ghana’s human rights record was reviewed at the Human Rights Council’s UPR in 2017, 2012 and 2008. In the 2012 Report, Ghana received 150 recommendations from 50 states.
Out of these recommendations 123 were accepted and the rest were noted. In 2017, Ghana received 241 recommendations of which 200 have been accepted, noting 41.
The workshop would discuss the status of human rights in Ghana in the performance of human rights obligations and commitments.