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24.06.2004 General News

House calls for expansion of CHRAJ

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Accra, June 24, GNA - The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday recommended the expansion of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). The Committee said the number of Commissioners on CHRAJ was inadequate to enable it to deal with the volume of work it handled. Chairman of the Committee, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh in a motion for the adoption of the Committee's Report on the 2002 Annual Report on CHRAJ, said in addition to the inadequate number of Commissioners, CHRAJ also lacked qualified staff, especially Lawyers.

He said this was due to poor remuneration and service conditions, adding that, "the highly qualified staff of the Commission, especially lawyers are the poorest paid among the legal class in the public service."

Mr Osei-Prempeh said due to financial and staff constraints, the Commission had offices in only 99 out of 110 Districts, even though, it was required by law to have an office in every District.

He said though CHRAJ was a very important pillar of good governance in this country, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme (GPRSP), in dealing with governance issues, left out the Commission to its present fate.

He said, "there is the need to review the legislation of the CHRAJ Act, 1993 (ACT 456), so as to clarify the mandate of the Commission as well as its enforcement powers."

Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, NDC- Kumbungu called for CHRAJ to be well resourced to be able to attract and maintain quality staff to ensure that it operated well.

He said, "in this times of corruption and poor human rights records of developing countries, we need to have a vibrant CHRAJ to ensure that we deal with these issues effectively and maintain a good image before the international community."

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