We need fair, honest and efficient justice system-AG

Accra, July 05, GNA – Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, has stressed the need for a fair, honest and efficient justice system in the country.

He said a justice system that guaranteed all elements of the rule of law and assured a speedy and efficient resolution of disputes would produce a business operating environment characterised by transparency, certainty and fairness.

Mr Dame said this at the launch of the National Baseline Assessment Report on business and human rights, on Monday in Accra.

The report was compiled by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), with funding support from the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR).

He said the relationship between business and human rights was of utmost importance in the increasingly globalised economy.

He noted that on the African continent, for many years, business had been linked to gross violations of human rights, and as such, the importance of a national baseline assessment report on the interaction between business and human rights could not be overemphasised.

“Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that protect all. They are based on dignity, fairness, equality and respect. Businesses have a significant impact on the way we live our lives and enjoy these human rights, whether as an employee or a customer or simply living alongside companies that share our cities and towns.”

Mr Dame said the development of the baseline assessment report had constitutional grounding in Article 36 of the Constitution of Ghana on the economic objectives of the country.

“Clauses 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10 of article 36, in particular, lay down firm imperatives for the State in the building of an economic order, which guarantees ample opportunity for individual initiative and provides a fair, realistic remuneration as an incentive for continued production and higher productivity.”

He said the ownership and possession of property as well as the encouragement of foreign investment within the constraints of regulations enacted by the State are primary concerns of articles 36, 18 and 20 of the Constitution.

He said the promotion and observance of human rights of the business community was a collective role of both public and private sector, hence businesses must endeavour to do the right thing by respecting human rights.

Mr Joseph Whittal, Commissioner, CHRAJ, said during the third Cycle Review of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council in 2017, Ghana accepted the recommendation to “integrate and apply the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to all its relevant policies, including licensing extractive business.”

He said for that to be achieved, there was the need to undertake a national baseline assessment of business and human rights situation in Ghana to identify gaps in the application of the Guiding Principles and subsequently develop a National Action Plan that would propose specific interventions or policies to deal with the gaps and the adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises.

Mr Whittal said as part of measures to ensure that Ghana achieved the recommendation that it supported on business and human rights during the UPR, the Commission conducted the assessment to evaluate the implementation of the UNGPs in Ghana.

The Commissioner said the assessment focused on four critical sectors of the economy: Petroleum, Finance, Telecommunication, and Mining.

“Overall, it was found that although some government policies, laws, treaties, and institutions meet the standards set by the UNGPs, there remains some gaps that require urgent attention to enhance the State and businesses’ protection of and respect for human rights, and remedy to human right violations in Ghana. The gaps as identified are discussed in the report across the three pillars of ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework.”

He said the Commission was committed to the process and would take all necessary steps to support the Government in achieving its target and called on stakeholders to support the process by way of both technical and funding support.

The Minister later inaugurated an 18-member steering committee to develop a national action plan on business and human rights.

Source: Ghana News Agency