Attorney General reaffirms Ghana’s commitment to Universal Peer Review

Accra� Madam Gloria Akuffo, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, has reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR), as part of efforts to improve human rights in the country.

She said after going through two UPR cycles, the Government had endeavoured to fully or partially implement some of the recommendations that it had accepted.

The UPR is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation in each of the 193 United Nations (UN) Member States.

Under this mechanism the human rights situation of all UN member states is reviewed every five years.

Madam Akuffo said this in a speech read on her behalf on Wednesday at the opening of a National Multi-Stakeholder Workshop in Accra.

The workshop was to dialogue on the Implementation Plan for Recommendations made to Ghana during a review of her human rights record in November 2017 by the UN Human Rights Council under the UN UPR Mechanism.

The two-day meeting was organised by the POS Foundation, which serves as the Secretariat for the Ghana Human Rights NGO Forum, and the UPR Info Africa Office in Kenya, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the UN Office in Ghana.

It is being attended by representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and members of the diplomatic community.

Madam Akuffo said in reporting to the UN Human Rights Council for the Third Cycle, an ad hoc working group, made up of various government institutions, was inaugurated to collate the report since Ghana did not have a standing coordinating body for the implementation and reporting on the recommendation.

She said the workshop, therefore, sought to commence a process of establishing a national discourse on the implementation and monitoring of the UPR Recommendation.

This is an important and critical exercise towards the achievement of our common objective of ensuring that UPR recommendations are implemented and monitored to protect and promote human rights of everyone as provided for in the 1992 Constitution.

She recounted that during the third review in November 2017, the Government accepted 212 recommendations out of 241, of which 29 were noted (not accepted).

Central to the said recommendations are access to justice, protection of rights of persons with disability, women and children’s rights and access to good health care, Madam Akuffo said.

We will ensure that those recommendations, which have been accepted by Government are collectively implemented to the best of our ability by creating space for all stakeholders to be actively involved in this process.

Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director of POS Foundation and Vice Chairman of Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum, said the workshop would help foster cooperation among government and CSOs on the implementation and monitoring of UPR Recommendations through the review and discussion of a proposed Implementation Plan.

It would also increase awareness on the UPR among all stakeholders, including the public, at national level, he said.

Mr Peter Ellschow Olesen, the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark, applauded the Government for consulting CSOs before its human rights report was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for review.

Dr Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, said the sustained leadership from civil society in advocating for human rights and taking practical measures to continually improve them was part of Ghana’s reputation as a beacon of participatory inclusive democracy.

Madam Gifty Twum Ampofo, a Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, said there was the need to focus on national systems to strengthen the implementation of the UPR recommendations, which were accepted by Ghana.

Mr Gilbert O. Onyango, the UPR Regional Representative for Africa, expressed his commitment and support for government in the implementation of the UPR strategies.

Mr Joseph Whittal, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), who chaired the function, said it was important the UPR recommendations were made known to the public.

He said Ghana’s 2017 UPR Report was enriched because CHRAJ, instead of sending its own independent report, took time and worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office to prepare the national document.

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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