The Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), a Non- Profit Organisation, has presented a manual on Human Rights for Human Rights Defenders in braille format to the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) in Accra.
The Human Rights Defenders include Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations, the Media and Journalists, Faith Based Organisations and Human Rights Activists, who protect and promote human rights, and strengthen the rule of law.
The Manual titled: “Human Rights and Legal Protection Protocols for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Partners, Staff and Human Rights Defenders Facing Risks as a Result of Their Influencing Work in Ghana”, seeks to provide a practical guide on prevention and mitigation measures when faced with situation of risk.
It was developed in collaboration with OXFAM Ghana.
Mr Alhassan Iddrissu, a Lawyer and Legal Advocate at CEPIL, said Human Rights Defenders often focused more on the protection of others whilst neglecting theirs amidst threats and its associated risks.
He said though Ghana had signed on many international treaties and charters to promote human rights, inequalities and discriminations still existed in the country.
The Legal Advocate said such had adverse effects on the vulnerable, including People living With Disabilities, hence must be addressed.
Mr Iddrissu said according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other credible sources, at least 281 human rights defenders were killed in 2019 and since 2015, a total of 1,323 had been killed.
He noted that the deaths of the defenders were often preceded by direct and indirect threats, which were intended to intimidate, silence and prevent them from executing their work.
The Lawyer said Ghana enjoyed a vibrant and pluralist media environment, yet the establishment of media outlets by politicians had given rise to politicised and biased media content.
‘‘It is reported that, most recently, journalists have faced a spate of violent attacks throughout the country, many from major political party supporters. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has recorded 14 cases of abuse of journalists, including five arrests, since the beginning of 2022 alone,’’ Mr Iddrissu stated.
Mr Peter Obeng-Asamoah, the Executive Director of the GBU, said United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities talked about their right to and access to information as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the rights to information for all persons.
He said, however, the Union, did not have access to manuals and reports that were published and released to the public since they were not in formats they could access.
‘‘…I understand that this report is already out there, but we couldn’t access it, so by giving us this manual in accessible format, that is what we call inclusion,’’ the Executive Director stated.
Mr Obeng-Asamoah called for the society to be totally inclusive for all for the attainment of the SDGs.
‘‘For example, if I know what the human rights are and the things that this report contains, I will educate my family, children and my friends, so it does not stop with the blind person,’’ he added.
The Executive Director commended CEPIL for the initiative, its support and the provision of the manual in the braille format for the Union.