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13.03.2006 General News

Ghana makes Progress in Protection of Human Rights


Accra, March 13, GNA - Ghana is making progress in providing for the protection of fundamental human rights as far as the declaration of the courts are concerned. Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, who made the observation, said despite temporary interruptions to the evolution of a virile judiciary by various coups d'etats, the country had witnessed organic growth in fundamental human rights during constitutional periods. However, he noted, that the declaration of the courts of fundamental human rights was in itself not a guarantee that all enjoyed such rights, saying that other actors needed to play their complementary roles to extend the frontiers of fundamental human rights.

Justice Date-Bah was speaking at a two-week workshop for about 30 human rights advocates drawn from West Africa and Central Africa in Accra on Monday. The workshop being organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York; is designed to equip participants with skills to support the growing community of Africans committed to promoting human rights within the society. Justice Date-Bah said the judiciary took seriously the constitutional responsibility for the enforcement of fundamental human rights conferred on the courts and would go all out to ensure that those whose constitutional rights were infringed upon were given justice. He said a judicial action to offer relief to those who bring action before the courts would serve in the promotion of human rights through encouraging others to follow similar course of action and enhance the democratisation process.

Justice Date-Bah called on constitutional and statutory agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to monitor the observance of human rights and to educate the public and public institutions on their responsibilities and rights in the area "of human rights since the area is so broad to be left to judges alone." Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director, Media Foundation for West Africa, said although there was some progress in Africa with regard to human rights, the situation was still very far from satisfactory. "Violations go on everyday in all of our countries that demand protest, agitation, legal, contestation, institutional reform and political, social and cultural rethinking," he said. He expressed the hope that the workshop would contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of human rights defenders in the various countries.

Ms Margaret Lander, Programme Director, Human Rights Advocates Programme Centre for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University, New York, asked the participants to build long lasting network for the exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences.