CHRAJ has a broad mandate to protect universal human rights and freedoms, especially those vested in the 1992 Constitution, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Specific mandates concerned with the protection of human rights can be found in Article 218 (a), (c) and (f) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 7 (1) (a) (c) and (g) of the CHRAJ Act. As the National Human Rights Institution of Ghana, the Commission has a duty to promote and protect fundamental human rights and freedoms in Ghana. The Commission’s human rights functions can be divided into two categories: 1. Promotion and Prevention 2. Protection and Enforcement
Promotion & Prevention
The Commission advances respect for human rights in Ghanaian society through public education and awareness creation, research and monitoring.
Public education activities are undertaken to promote and deepen the culture of respect for human rights in Ghana using:
- Electronic & print media – TV, Radio, Newspapers, Newsletters, etc;
- Workshops, seminars, conferences, training programmes, lectures, debates, quiz competitions, etc; and
- Outreach programmes to religious institutions, civil society groups, schools, markets, rural communities, etc.
Research & Monitoring
- Conducts research to help develop best practice guidelines for the general public to deepen respect for human rights;
- Conducts research into practices of societal and cultural institutions and recommends measures to improve those practices and eliminate abusive ones;
- Monitors the observance of human rights in Ghana to ensure that the State complies with its obligations under national and international human rights law.
- Supports initiatives that seek to review legislation, policies and practices to ensure that they do not offend or undermine human rights principles;
Monitoring and research activities are aimed at:
- Preventing human rights violations from occurring;
- Prompting early warning signal;
- Providing reliable information for Government, international community, and the general public; and
- Providing data and information for the Commission to perform its oversight role in promoting and protecting human rights.
Protection & Enforcement
- Investigates complaints of violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms using various methods, including mediation, negotiation, and formal hearing;
- Carries out special investigations into human rights abuses that are systemic or cultural;
- Investigates other human rights violations brought to the Commission’s attention.
Powers of the Commission
The Commission has power to:
- Require an institution or person to submit information, documents, records or other materials that will assist in the Commission’s investigations;
- Require any institution or person to appear before the Commission to assist in its investigations;
- Go to court to seek remedies, including compliance with its recommendations.
Matters outside the Commission’s Mandate
The Commission does not have power to investigate:
A matter pending in a court or judiciary tribunal;
A matter between the Government of Ghana and another Government or International Organization;
A matter where the President exercises his or her prerogative of mercy (such as the grant of a pardon to a convict).
What can I Complain About
You can complain about any violation of human rights, including:
- Slavery and/or Servitude
- Forced Labour
- Domestic Violence
- Unlawful Arrest, Search & Detention
- Sexual Harassment
- Degrading Punishment
- Early or Forced Marriages
- Parental Neglect
- Denial of access to Child
- Restriction of peaceful Assembly & Association
- Inhibition of Freedom of Thought, Conscience & Worship
- Restriction on access to Healthcare or Education
When May I Complain?
You may complain when:
- Your human rights are violated; or
- You are denied the enjoyment of a right to which you are entitled.
- You should complain to the Commission as soon as possible but not later than 12 months after the violation or denial you want to complain about occurred.
Who Can Make a Complaint?
Any person or group of persons or an institution can lodge a complaint with the Commission. Where the circumstances demand, a person may lodge a complaint on behalf of another.
How can I Make a Complaint?
You may complain to the Commission via phone, email, post, fax, or in person at any of the Commission’s offices [Head Office in Accra, Regional or District Offices].
When making a complaint, you should try to give as much detail as possible including supporting documents and contacts of persons who may assist the Commission in its investigation. You should also indicate to the Commission the remedy you are seeking.
You should provide all relevant information that will assist the Commission communicate better with you and the person or institution you are complaining about. This should include full names, contact addresses and contact phone numbers.
Why Should I Bring a Complaint to the Commission?
Every person who comes before the Commission is given every opportunity to present his or her case through a process that is fair, just and transparent. In addition, you will find that the Commission’s:
- Services are free, empowering, user-friendly and accessible to all.
- Investigations and complaints resolution mechanisms are efficient and expeditious