A high-level delegation comprising representatives from Oxfam (America and Ghana), a renowned international non-profit organization, have paid a courtesy call on the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), The visit aimed to discuss the existing collaboration and partnership between the two institutions in the areas of Business and Human Rights (BHR), as well as potential collaborations in the protection of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and the strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).
Representatives from Oxfam and CHRAJ engaged in fruitful discussions on the various ways they can join forces to advance the cause of human rights in Ghana and the continent as a whole. To build on the shared commitment to upholding human rights and promoting sustainable business practices, both organizations recognized the importance of protecting human rights defenders who play a crucial role in advocating for justice and equality. They, therefore emphasized the need to create a supportive environment that safeguards the rights of these individuals to enable them to carry out their work without fear of reprisal.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal, acknowledged the significance of Oxfam Ghana’s contributions and dedication to promoting human rights and fostering sustainable development through its support of the Commission’s programmes. He expressed gratitude to the organisation for its substantial support, both in terms of funding and technical assistance by supporting the development of a baseline assessment on BHR in Ghana and its pivotal role in facilitating consultations for the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) on BHR.
Commissioner Whittal indicated that the assessment report would serve as a crucial foundation for future efforts to address the issues relating to the effects of business practices on human rights within the country, while the NAP would serve as a roadmap to guide Ghana in implementing measures that effectively address the adverse implication of business activities on human rights.
He expressed optimism about the prospects of collaboration and partnership between the two organisations in strengthening NHRIs to effectively safeguard the rights of HRDs recognizing that such alliances are crucial for addressing complex human rights issues.
On their part, Oxfam America emphasized the importance of promoting responsible business practices that prioritize human rights and social justice. Highlighting the need for increased awareness and accountability among businesses, Dr. Tawanda Mutasah, Vice President, of Global Partnerships and Impact, stressed the significance of protecting and empowering human rights defenders who play a vital role in advocating for social justice. He therefore, expressed Oxfam in America’s willingness to collaborate with the Commission, particularly regarding strengthening the role of NHRIs in monitoring and enforcing human rights standards in the business sphere, as well as promoting and protecting the rights of HRDs, women, and children, among others
Other discussions centered on gender-based violence, access to justice, freedom of speech, arbitrary arrest, and the safety of journalists and freedom fighters on the African continent, and exploring strategies to enhance the capacity of NHRIs to enable them to effectively address human rights violations within this context.
Members of the high-level delegation from Oxfam America included Ms. Abby Maxman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jamey Shachoy, Board Chair, Dr. Tawanda Mutasah, VP of Global partnerships and Impact, Mr. Christopher Hufstader, Senior Writer, and Dr. Arnold Chamunogwa, Africa Lead – Global Engagements and Partnerships.
Present at the meeting were Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms. Mercy Larbi, the Director of Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Nartey, and the Director of Project and Programmes, Ms. Gloria Gyedu. The Oxfam representatives in Ghana were Francis Agbere, Just Economy Program & Policy Manager, Mohammed-Anwar Sadat, Programme & Policy Influencing Lead, and Thelma Hayford, Gender and Social Inclusion Advisor.