The Deputy Commissioner, responsible for Anti-Corruption, Research, and Public Education, at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justices (CHRAJ) Mr. Richard Quayson, has stated that CHRAJ has achieved great strides in the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights of all persons in Ghana, especially the rights of the vulnerable, marginalized and key population.
He said the Commission has worked to successfully enforce the discontinuation of certain harmful religious and cultural practices that violate the rights of women and girls as well as preventing discrimination and stigmatization against vulnerable minorities and key populations.
Mr. Quayson noted that aside investigations into human rights abuses and providing remedies, CHRAJ constantly monitors the implementation of laws that promote and protect the rights of all persons and engages with relevant stakeholders to proscribe laws to protect citizens’ rights and prevent violations.
He cited an example where the Commission conducted research on access to justice and gender-based violence in witch camps in the North East and Northern regions in 2022, which resulted in the development of a baseline assessment report with recommendations to address the problem of abuse of alleged witches. He also stated that the Commission’s efforts led to the closing down of one witch camp and the reintegration of alleged witches back into their communities.
Mr. Quayson said the Commission is currently engaging government to establish alternative camps and safe spaces controlled by the local government instead of individuals as is the case with witch camps.
He made these remarks during a courtesy by Members of the German Parliament (Bundestag) to the Commission. The delegation which comprised members of the Committee for Legal Affairs, led by the Hon. Member of Parliament, Ms. Elisabeth Winkelmeier visited the Commission to learn more about Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights.
On her part, the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ responsible for Human Rights, Administrative Justice, and Legal Services, Ms. Mercy Larbi, alluded that the Commission has representation in all 16 regions with 175 district offices nationwide, including well-trained professionals who swiftly handle and investigate complaints relating to the abuse and violations of rights. She also said that the Commission has an online reporting system where complaints could be made directly to the Commission.
Ms. Larbi asserted that discriminating against, and stigmatizing people based on religious or cultural beliefs is wrong, therefore, the Commission undertakes sustained public education activities to sensitize the public about beliefs and practices that violate human rights and undermine the dignity of people. She said these public education activities are aimed at changing mindsets and beliefs while encouraging respect for human rights, acceptance, and reintegration of victims into their communities.
Other discussions centered on business and human rights, children’s rights in fishing and mining communities, rights of migrants and refugees, and the promotion of proper human sexual rights and the Ghanaian family values bill.
Following the deliberations, the Hon. Member of Parliament, Ms. Elizabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, congratulated the Commission on the stellar work it has achieved so far under its human rights promotion and protection mandate. She expressed her appreciation on to the Commission on behalf of the delegation and presented a medallion to the Commission in recognition of its valuable work in safeguarding and promoting respect for human rights in Ghana