The Head of Department, West Africa at GIZ in Germany, Ms. Kirsten Focken, has commended the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for its multifaceted efforts in upholding human rights and promoting good governance. She recognized the systematic approach taken by CHRAJ in investigating complaints relating to its mandates which, according to her, have contributed significantly to the overall improvement of accountability and good governance in Ghana.
Ms. Focken made this remarks when she led a high-level delegation from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Joseph Whittal, for a productive dialogue aimed at exploring opportunities for collaboration and enhancing their existing partnership. She expressed keen interest in exploring new avenues that could contribute to further advancing their shared objectives.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal in his remarks highlighted the broader responsibilities of CHRAJ in upholding human rights, the progress made in combating corruption within Ghana, and the role of CHRAJ in improving accountability and integrity of the public service.
Commissioner Whittal underscored some significant progress achieved in curbing corruption through various measures implemented under the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), highlighting the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the passage of the Right to Information Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill as key initiatives that have played a pivotal role in reducing opportunities for corrupt practices and enhancing accountability.
The Commissioner emphasized that these legislative measures, coupled with the prosecution of corruption-related matters, including illegal mining, have collectively curbed corrupt practices within the country.
Under the NACAP reporting system, Commissioner Whittal indicated that progress reports from various public institutions have demonstrated a concerted effort by these institutions to implement anti-corruption programs in areas where corruption was previously prevalent.
The meeting also delved into the role of CHRAJ in monitoring the right to vote, where Mr. Whittal emphasized the vital role CHRAJ plays in nationwide election monitoring. He explained that the Commission actively monitors elections across the country and compiles comprehensive reports on the electoral processes as part of CHRAJ’s commitment to safeguarding the right to vote, ensuring transparency, and upholding the democratic process.
In addition, he explained that the Commission thoroughly investigates complaints related to violations during elections, and the decisions made available to the relevant authorities towards enhancing the efficiency of the voting processes, in a bid to ensure a more transparent and fair electoral system in Ghana going forward.
The focal point of the dialogue was CHRAJ’s triple mandate, which encompasses the promotion and protection of human rights, the prevention of corruption, and the redress of administrative injustice. A notable aspect of the discussions, however, was discrimination against marginalized people within the society, particularly women and children as well as key populations, including the LGBTI community. The parties engaged in a candid conversation about the challenges faced by these communities and explored potential avenues for collaboration in promoting inclusivity and combating discrimination.
Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Mercy Larbi on behalf of CHRAJ expressed appreciation to GIZ for its continued support to the Commission.
Other members of the delegation were Dr. Dirk Assmann, Country Director, GIZ Ghana, Ms. Astrid Kohl, Head of Governance Programme, GIZ Ghana, Mrs. Dörte Diallo, Head of Project, Support to Human Rights, Gender Equality and Civil Society, GIZ Ghana and Ms. Pauline Okkens, Political, and Protocol Section / Development Cooperation, German Embassy, Ghana.