Ghana: CHRAJ Implores Human Rights Institutions to Comply With Principles

The Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has implored human rights institutions to comply with principles in the implementation and protection of rights and freedoms of all persons.

It tasked them to hold governments accountable for their human rights obligations to ensure independence, competence, credibility, probity, transparency and accountability to empower them to be effective in their work.

“International human rights performance standards such as the United Nations Paris Principles is a comparative analysis of African human rights institutions legal frameworks which must meet effectiveness and efficient criteria of the Paris Principles,” the Commission observed.

Joseph Whittal, the Commissioner of CHRAJ, made the call at an experience sharing visit of a three-member high level delegation from the National Human Rights Commission of Mali which analysed independence, competencies, responsibilities, funding, and financial autonomy of human rights institutions, and discovered limitations in their legal framework, as well as their operational, financial, and appointment autonomy.

He indicated that restrictive mandates imposed by enabling legislation, including poorly written legislation, inadequate protection within enabling legislation regarding security of tenure, ambiguous laws on powers and functions of the institutions were major threats to legal autonomy of the institutions.

Mr Whittal, who also doubles as the President of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NNHRIWA), disclosed that the report revealed inadequate ability of some human rights institutions to execute their mandates without external interferences, controls and obstruction from any branch of the government, private bodies, and other prominent individuals.

“Withholding finances by the state to exert controls, inconsistencies in appointment or removal of Commissioners along with harassment, arbitrary arrests, murder of human rights defenders, threatened independence, efficiency and effectiveness of institutions so our governments ought to be conscious of human rights.

“They should also adopt probity, accountability and transparency in appointment of Commissioners to guarantee designation of people with integrity, skill, knowledge, qualification, and competence to head institutions with substantive level of political will required to promote, protect human rights by guaranteeing a secure and conducive operating environment,” Mr Whittal intimated.

Aguibou Bouare, the President of the Mali CNDH and head of the delegation, observed that the visit was critical due to new challenges facing Mali under its military regime to draw inspiration from experience of the Commission, which had maintained its high status since 1996.

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