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10.06.2005 General News

Justice Short receives honorary doctorate


Accra, June 10, GNA- Mr Emile Francis Short, Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, USA. This is in recognition of his work in promoting human rights, governmental transparency and respect for rule of law in Ghana. The University will confer the honorary Doctor of Law Degree on Mr Short during a commencement (congregation) exercise scheduled for Friday, June 17, 2005 at Evanston.

A statement from the University noted that under the leadership of Mr Short, CHRAJ had made significant gains in protecting human rights in Ghana. The University said the Commissioner, who has headed CHRAJ since it was established in 1993, has earned the praise of human rights monitors and women's rights advocates.

Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, also writes: "We believe that Emile Short is one of the leading forces for the protection and promotion of human rights in Africa," The statement said:

The University observed that: "Despite chronic under-funding and the loss of personnel to organisations offering higher levels of compensation, CHRAJ has admirably discharged its broad mandate of serving as a human rights commission, an anti-corruption unit, and an ombudsman to mediate disputes between Ghanaians and their government." The statement said CHRAJ was regarded as so central to building a democratic Ghana that the government yielded to public demand and doubled its funding in 2003. It observed that since its inception, the Commission had promoted freedom of expression and combated appalling prison conditions. It has increased government transparency in Ghana, boldly challenging corruption at all levels of government, investigating and ruling on claims against members of parliament, ministers, and even the President.

The statement said CHRAJ has also battled other human rights violations, including the practice of trokosi, the servitude of young women as atonement for crimes or social infractions of their family. Of the 64,000 cases handled between 1993 and 2003, 75 per cent have been resolved by CHRAJ, mostly through non-adversarial forms of dispute resolution.