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08.03.2006 General News

Incorporate human rights in governance - Robinson

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Accra, March 8, GNA - Mrs Mary Robinson, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on Wednesday called for the incorporation of human rights in corporate and political governance, which should be gender sensitive.

She warned, however that human rights policies must not worsen injustice elsewhere.

Mrs Robinson, who was also a former President of Ireland, challenged banks and companies to do an inner search to see if they were fulfilling their human rights responsibilities in giving fair treatment to their workers to ensure better employer satisfaction and minimum labour turnover.

Delivering the second in the series of the three-day Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lectures at the University of Ghana, Legon, stressed that respect for human rights should be at the centre of all development issues.

The topic of the lecture was "Human Rights and Ethical Globalisation" within a wider theme of "Human Rights and Development". The annual lecture was instituted in 1957 to commemorate the contribution of the three personalities to the founding of the then Achimota College, which developed into the now University of Ghana and the advancement of particularly higher education in Ghana. In the audience were President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chief Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Dr Ishmael Yamson; Chairman of the University Council, Members of the Bench and the academic community and students. Mrs Robinson examined human rights in the advent of globalisation and called for the forging of a new and explicit vision to guide public life.

The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is currently Chairperson of the Council of Women of World Leaders, drew attention to the marginalisation of women in the filling of positions of responsibility.

She expressed the hope that women would make a difference in Ghana and other parts of the world in the 21st century and stressed the linkage between economies and societal respect for human rights. The Former Irish President said about 60 per cent of people infected with HIV/AID were women and called on them to highlight the shortcomings of policies that were not in their favour through court actions. Individuals could also be educated to follow and uphold human rights to cause social change and painted a gloomy picture for the world's poor economies.

Some economists are challenging the efficiency of privatisation and are offering alternatives, Mrs Robinson stated.

The former President said despite the intended benefits of globalisation, 54 countries were poorer now they were 20 years ago while 2.4 billion people lacked access to basic sanitation. The statistics translate into harsh realities, and consequently frustrated countries, Mrs Robinson said.

"We need to make people realise how wide the gap between rich and poor nations; the divide is. What is needed really is a major globalisation rethinking based on equitability, transparency and the rule of law".

The former Ireland President acknowledged attempts to bridge the prosperity divide between the rich and poor nations, and called for more action by governments to establish a common agenda for the international observance of human rights.

She emphasised that racism and xenophobia bred fear and called on the people of the world to see diversity in races as a gift rather than a threat, declaring, "We all belong to one human family". Mrs Robinsin, who is also on a visit to Ghana has had audience with President Kufour and taken part in discussion on women issues.