The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has commended Cabinet for approving the National Migration Policy and urged the Government to accede to the two statelessness conventions.
The conventions include the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
A statement signed by Mr Joseph Whittal, the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Monday, called on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), the National Council on Disability and Ghana Federation of the Disabled to intensify their fight for the protection of the vulnerable and most marginalized in society.
The 2016 commemoration of the United Nations’ International Human Rights Day is on the theme: “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today”.
The statement said CHRAJ had championed human rights in the areas of child, early and forced marriage, right of the child, women’s right, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and rights of migrants and refugees.
It said CHRAJ, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, is collaborating with traditional leaders with a view to eradicating early and forced marriages in Ghana in the context of the 2015 Kigali Declaration of National Human Rights Institutions on Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM).
The statement also noted that CHRAJ has carried out extensive investigation (research) into abuse of children’s rights, particularly in the area of child labour and child trafficking, which affect the child’s right to education and development generally.
It is finalising its findings and would submit its recommendation to relevant state institutions for appropriate remedial action.
The Affirmative Action Bill which seeks to empower women in terms of their active participation in the governance process is currently before Parliament and CHRAJ is contributing and advocating for its enactment.
“CHRAJ notes with concern that in spite of the provisions of Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution regarding equality and non-discrimination based on stated grounds, there are cultural prejudices that can potentially affect the rights of this vulnerable and marginalized group in the society,” the statement said.
In collaboration with the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) and other stakeholders, CHRAJ has been implementing a National Action Plan aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of migrants and refugees and ultimately stateless persons.
The statement said CHRAJ had stood up for the rights of all persons in Ghana and particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised in the society.
“As a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) imbued with the mandate to promote and protect human rights of all persons in the country, CHRAJ has, within the reporting year (2016), stood up for the rights of all persons in Ghana, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised in the society,” the statement said.
The statement said CHRAJ had been creating awareness among traditional leaders, especially in the three northern regions of Ghana; Northern, Upper East and Upper West, where there was high prevalence of the practice of CEFM.
CHRAJ said the awareness programme aims to empower the traditional leaders and other opinion leaders with the requisite knowledge and skills, including learning from best practice from other countries and cultures regarding successes and challenges associated with the fight against CEFM.
On Right of the child, CHRAJ said it had carried out extensive investigation (research) into abuse of children’s rights, particularly in the area of child labour and child trafficking, which affect the child’s right to education and development generally.
CHRAJ’s investigation/research was carried out in fishing communities in the Volta and Central regions namely Dzemeni, Kpeve-Tornu, Esuakyir and Woarabeba.
CHRAJ is finalising its findings and would submit its recommendations to relevant state institutions for appropriate remedial action.
On Women’s right, CHRAJ said it had been championing the rights of women with regard to Millennium Development Goals; promoting gender equality and empowering women as restated in the 2013 UN Development Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals) to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
In this regard, CHRAJ had contributed and advocated for enactment of the Affirmative Action Bill which is currently before Parliament that seeks to empower women in terms of their active participation in the governance process.
It said there were real and perceived discrimination borne exclusively on cultural stereotypes and prejudices which tended to stigmatise people perceived to have sexual orientation, particularly described as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex.
These cultural prejudices can potentially affect the rights of this vulnerable and marginalized group in the society.
“CHRAJ has stood up for the vulnerable and marginalized and, on this occasion, we are calling on the state institutions as duty bearers and CSOs alike to stand up to protect and promote the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities in Ghana,” it said.