The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal has reiterated CHRAJ’s steadfast commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, administrative justice, integrity, and ethics in the public service. He said the Commission would do everything possible within the ambit of the Law, despite the constraints it faces, to ensure that its vision and mission become reality for all Ghanaians.

Commissioner Whittal made this remark during the launch of the 30th anniversary celebration of CHRAJ on July 6, 2023, at the Commission’s Head Office in Accra.

In his address highlighting the Commission’s achievements, challenges, and future plans, the CHRAJ Commissioner recognised the pioneers who laid the foundation of CHRAJ and expressed gratitude to the founding Trinity of Commission Members, Management, and staff for their tireless efforts and pioneering work.

He said the first Commission Members, Justice Emile Short, Mr. Benjamin Oppong, and Justice Angelina Domakyaareh, were instrumental in providing the Commission with a solid takeoff, credibility, and legitimacy which it enjoys within Ghana and internationally.

Mr. Whittal also highlighted several key achievements of CHRAJ in promoting and protecting human rights in Ghana. These include advocacy against dehumanizing practices such as Trokosi and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the criminalization of early and forced girl-child marriages, and the Commission’s role as the de facto National Preventive Mechanism, ensuring the rights of persons deprived of liberty.

In terms of transparency and accountability, he said, CHRAJ has played a significant role in developing guidelines on conflict of interest for public officials, the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP), and the generic Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

In addition, he said the Commission has investigated high-level corruption cases against all governments under the 4th Republic, demonstrating its commitment to combating corruption.

He remarked that CHRAJ has expanded its geographical reach by opening offices in all 16 regions and 175 district offices across Ghana to bring its services closer to the people, and also aligned work streams and departments along its constitutional functions to enhance operational clarity and future growth.

The Commissioner said CHRAJ has taken leadership roles in various human rights networks internationally. He noted that the Commission serves as the President of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions of West Africa, the Vice Chairman of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions, and a Bureau Member representing Africa on the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.

Mr. Whittal, despite the above achievements expressed regret about the Commission’s major challenge of inadequate funding considering its status as an institution with multiple mandates. He emphasized that CHRAJ is one of the few national institutions in the world with triple mandates, encompassing Human Rights, Administrative Justice, and Anti-Corruption. He indicated that the challenge with inadequate funding has led to some limitations in the delivery of the Commission’s multiple mandates.

Mr. Whittal, however, revealed that the CHRAJ bill is currently being revised to amend Act 456 and its Constitutional Instrument (CI) to address this challenge.

He also indicated that a fourth mandate, making the Commission the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) of Ghana in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) would be added as a result of the amendment.

Commissioner Whittal used the opportunity to call on the nation to prioritize protecting the rights of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized, combat illegal mining (Galamsey), and address endemic corruption.

He also emphasized the need for governments to lead by example, as well as adequately resource anti-corruption institutions, and promote transparency and accountability in public service delivery.

The event had in attendance dignitaries from key stakeholder institutions who shared congratulatory and heartfelt goodwill messages acknowledging the Commission’s accomplishments over the past three (3) decades.

CHRAJ’s 30th Anniversary Celebration is under the theme “CHRAJ at 30: Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in Public Service Delivery.”


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