An Observer at the Universal Periodic Review

Br Renato Llerena is a Christian Brother from the Latin American region, currently based in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He is currently in Geneva to learn more about the work of ERI and the Human Rights Council of the UN. Here is his report of the UPR of Ghana session which he attended. 

 Ghana has around 21 million inhabitants and although it is a country that maintains double the exports of the poorest African countries, it is a country in which a third of the population still lives below the poverty line,  a poverty that is more obvious in the rural areas. Nevertheless, Ghana maintains a politically stable democracy and an internal peace which allows for good governance, economically and socially, and this is a very positive feature.

In its report to the UPR, the Ghana delegation claimed that Ghana had advanced its protection of human rights in many areas. They referred to their action on domestic violence and gender-based violence, the fight against the practices of harmful cultural traditions and improvements in assisting people accused of witchcraft, improvements in people’s access to justice and in the situation of people with HIV – AIDS, among others.

The UPR process enables other nations to make recommendations to Ghana. It also also enables  non-government organisations, like Edmund Rice International (ERI), to make submissions to the Human Rights Council about Ghana.

In its submission to the UPR, ERI has recommended that Ghana adjust its domestic legislaton to reflect the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities which it has recently signed, and that Ghana establish programs to protect the rights of children at risk, and to give young people access to employment.

Some of the recommendations made to Ghana during the plenary session of the UPR insisted on better processes for protecting children, preventing child labour, violence against children, and the exploitation and  trafficking of children, ensuring access to education for all children, and ratifying the third Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Other recommendations called for the abolition of the practice of female genital mutilation and judicial penalties for this as a crime, for improving services to people with disabilities, and for the abolition of capital punishment.

The UPR is a cyclical process that requires a monitoring process to be put in place, to ensure the implementation of the commitments Ghana takes on to promote and protect human rights.

Renato Llerena  cfc

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