ACERWC CONSULT WITH CHRAJ DURING FOLLOW-UP MISSION TO GHANA
An eleven member delegation of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) led by Madam Hermine Kembo Takam Gatsing has consulted the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as part of its activities during a follow-up mission to Ghana to assess the state of implementation of its concluding observations and recommendations.
Although the committee observed that various policies, legislations, and institutional reforms have been carried out since the ratification of the African Children’s Charter in 2005, and commends the Government of Ghana for the measures it has taken as regards the promotion and protection of children’s rights, it believes that decentralising the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to all districts across the country would effectively ensure monitoring and implementation of children’s rights programmes.
Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Madam Mercy Larbi who received the delegation, outlined the three mandates of the Commission with specific reference to Children’s Rights under the Human Rights Mandate. She noted that the Commission educates the populace on the rights of children and also investigates complaints of human rights violations of children.
Deputy Commissioner Larbi disclosed that CHRAJ together with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Attorney General’s Department is in the process of amending the Children’s Act to strengthen efforts at safeguarding the fundamental human rights of all children in Ghana.
The Deputy Commissioner added that the Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to build the capacity of staff of the Commission on issues bordering on Children’s Rights to beef up their preparedness to handle any human rights related complaints regarding children.
She mentioned that in the event where CHRAJ does not have jurisdiction over a particular complaint which is brought before it and therefore refers it to the appropriate institution, the Commission always follows up to ensure that those cases are given the needed attention. Madam Larbi was emphatic that due to the Commission’s good reputation together with the trust and confidence it has built over the years, about 80% of such referred cases are handled to the satisfaction of the complainants.
She said some of these complainants, though may be aware the Commission is not mandated to handle certain cases, still bring such cases simply because aside the goodwill, CHRAJ’s services are free and the complainants are not required to pay any fees in case of any referrals.
“The enforcement of the Commission’s Decisions on cases it handles at the Law Court also comes at no cost to the complainant, she stressed.”