Mr. Joseph Akanjolenur Whittal, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and Chair of the Governing Council with supervisory oversight over all functions of CHRAJ, was appointed Commissioner in December 2016.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Whittal had since 2012 served as a Deputy Commissioner in charge of Legal and Investigations for the Commission. He first joined the Commission in 1994 as Upper East Regional Director, and was later appointed Director, Legal and Investigations at the Head Office between 2008 and 2012.
As Commissioner, he has oversight over the Legal Department; Human Rights Department, Administrative Justice Department, the Legal Registry and Complaints Units, and is also in charge of giving final approval and releasing all Decisions after investigations by the Core Departments (Human Rights, Anti-Corruption and Administrative Justice), as well as the draft Decisions of the ten Regional Directors.
Commissioner Whittal is responsible for Coordinating International Co-operation with International Human Rights Organisations such as United Nations Special Procedures and Mechanisms: Special Rapporteur on thematic issues; Treaty-based Committees, Preparation of the Commission’s Independent Report on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the Human Rights Council (HRC); and the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the National Human Rights Institutions; the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
His schedule also demands the Coordination of Regional Cooperation with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR); African Court on Human Rights; ECOWAS Community Court; the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), bilateral relations with other National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), International Cooperation with the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI); the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA), and bilateral relations with other Ombudsman Institutions.
Mr. Joseph Whittal is currently heading the Team working to develop a National Human Rights Action Plan (NAHRAP) as the overarching blueprint for the promotion and protection of human rights on a systemic basis in the country, of which a baseline study report of the human rights situation in Ghana has been produced and is presently being studied by the Team to inform the Action Plan.
Mr. Whittal has honored speaking engagements within and outside Ghana on any of the triple mandates of the Commission: Human Rights, Anti-Corruption and Administrative Justice as well as on general governance issues during conferences, workshops, seminars, among others.