The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has stated that government remains committed to advancing fundamental human rights and fulfilling its obligations to ensure that minority rights are not marginalised.
Stressing on the commitment, Mr. Yeboah Dame added that the government would firmly ensure that Article 17 of the constitution that guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status is achieved.
The Attorney-General made these remarks at the High-Level Meeting of the 77th Session of the General Assembly to mark the Commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious And Linguistic Minorities.
Mr. Yeboah Dame, in his address, said, despite the progress made in advancing the rights of minority groups following the adoption of the Declaration 3 decades ago, challenges persist.
“We solidarize with the people belonging to minority groups and remain concerned about the disproportionate suffering they are subjected to in conflict situations, including their vulnerability to forced displacements, obstacles to education and other attendant effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic”, he added.
Mr. Dame re-iterated Ghana's commitment to the implementation of the Declaration as he said it is the government's conviction that unbridled political will by the Member States at the national, regional and multilateral level is critical to advance the rights of minority groups sustainably.
The Attorney General highlighted the following points, which he says are instrumental in dealing with the issue confronting minority groups:
First, “We believe that although the Declaration was adopted three decades ago, it remains relevant in addressing contemporary challenges facing minority groups. It is, therefore, important for the Member States to make their commitment to its implementation”.
Secondly, “As we move towards a post-COVID-19 future, it is important for Member States to deliberately put in place measures that would enhance emergency aids, boost data collection for monitoring and tracking of disparities among minority groups, intensify outreaches including minority languages and sign languages on how to prevent and address COVID-19 and other challenges, and availability of services. This would help ensure that minority groups are not disadvantaged”.
Thirdly, “The growing exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination against minorities require a more holistic and comprehensive approach in addressing the situation. We welcome the integration of employment, sustainable development and social protection into domestic policies and the advancement of equal rights and opportunities for all, ensuring that the interest of minority groups is served.”
“Furthermore, deliberate policies that create a conducive environment for minority groups to meaningfully participate in political activities and decision-making are encouraged”.
Finally, ”Equally important is the urgent need to empower minority women and girls to help ameliorate the various forms of abuse they are subjected to. We believe this can be addressed by urgently considering measures embedded in economic support and stimulus packages that reflect the needs of women who face multiple forms of discrimination. In addition, the introduction of interventions such as helplines, psychosocial support and online counselling is recommended”.