U.N. Reports on Human Rights Situation in Ghana
Monday, September 29, 2008 12:45 PM

The United Nations Human Rights Council issued a report in May concerning the human rights situation in Ghana. Mixed results were reported in the areas of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking.

Ghana is working to improve its human rights situation through education and law enforcement, along with policy changes and resources to implement them. Ghana already has signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (ratified in 1986) and its Optional Protocol (signed in 2000).

The Constitution created an independent Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in 1993. The Commission investigates human rights complaints, among other issues. The Commission also must educate citizens about human rights.

In terms of domestic law, Ghana passed the Law on Human Trafficking (Act 694) in 2005. The Act aims to end trafficking and provide victim services. A nationwide plan was implemented to end trafficking in children, as well. Some Member States have questioned how much is being done on the ground to reduce trafficking.  There is also major concern revolving around that fact that 90 percent of domestic violence victims in Ghana are children. Many victims never report their abuse due to cultural fears and lack of access to the justice system.

In addition, the Domestic Violence Act (Act 732) was passed in 2007 and a Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit was created in 1998. Although the Ghanaian government admitted that domestic violence is one of the country’s most prevalent human rights abuses, funding is lacking to combat it, so implementation of these programs has been difficult. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), considered a form of violence against women, is still common, even though Ghana has outlawed the practice. Other “traditional practices” like witch camps, to which women are often banished after being accused of witchcraft, continue to harm women and girls.

Compiled from: Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Ghana, U.N. General Assembly, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/8/36, 29 May 2008.