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12.07.2005 General News

Three bodies institute lecture on Human Rights


Accra, July 12, GNA - Three organs on Tuesday instituted Annual Lectures on Human Rights to focus on human rights situation in Ghana from 2000 - 2004.

The African Regional Office of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Ghana Bar Association (GBA) were of the hope that by the institution of the Lectures "all will take an active role in protecting and promoting their human rights."

Nana Oye Lithur, Coordinator of CHRI, welcoming the audience and speakers to the inauguration of the lecture in Accra called on Government to continue to protect, promote, respect and fulfil human rights of citizens in a consistent manner.

She said the lectures would seek to assess Ghana's human rights record between 2000 and 2004 and how constitutionally mandated organizations have sought to protect the rights of citizens.

The lectures would, among other things identify victims of human rights violations, the likely perpetrators and interventions by the state to protect human rights.

She emphasised the need to periodically assess the human rights trends as pertained to civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights as well as the role of the courts in protecting human rights.

There was also the need to examine the development of public interest in law litigation as the nation strives to achieve the objective of attaining middle-income status by 2020.

Speaking on the topic: "Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Leadership and Public Management, GIMPA, Greenhill, explained that rights generally involved freedom from the interference of the state in the economic affairs of individuals, companies, and labour unions.

That interference included the right to own and dispose of property, the right to work and the right to form contracts. They also included minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and due notice of dismissal.

Prof Attafuah said social rights took the form of benefits and entitlements of individuals and society received from the state, which included medicare, free public education, unemployment insurance, pensions and welfare.

He said the laws were articulated in, and governed by, the 1968 United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC RIGHTS).

On the range of economic and social rights recognized under Ghana's 1992 Constitution Prof Attafuah enumerated property rights of spouses, right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions, equal work for equal pay, right to equal educational opportunities, women and children's rights and the rights of the disabled and the sick. Ms. Anna Bossman: Acting Commissioner, CHRAJ spoke on Overview of Human Rights in Ghana, Mr. Sam Okudzeto: Chairman, International Advisory Commission dwelt on CHRI on Civil and Political Rights, while Mr Nii Osah Mills, Chairman, The Human Rights and Legal Aid Committee, GBA talked on Protections by the Courts.