Sunday, September 7, 2008


The country’s Borstal Institute has won the admiration of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) which said it would recommend it to other Afircan countries to emulate in setting up similar institutions.
A commissioner of the ACHPR, Mr Musa Ngary Bitaye, who was fascinated by the absence of fence walls enclosing the buildings described it as a laudable practice, which needed to be emulated.
He, therefore, told participants at a public at a lecture in Accra that he was going to include what he had seen in his report for other countries to emulate.
The public lecture was organised by the Third World Network, Africa, in collaboration with the ACHPR as part of a five-day promotional mission of the ACHPR to the country.
Mr Bitaye underscored the fact that an insistence on the promotion of human rights on the continent was based on the fact that if people were not aware of their rights, they were most likely not able to ensure its protection.
He said his tour of Ghana was one of the ways by which the ACHPR gave expression to its mandate to promote human rights on the continent.
He said since the inception of the ACHPR about 26 years ago, the innovation of the commissioners in giving expression to the mandate of the commission, had resulted in several proactive measures by which the work of the commission had become more relevant to individuals in countries.
For instance, the complaints and communication procedure of the Commission, by which states, non governmental organisations and individuals could draw the attention of the Commission to the violation of rights or freedoms under the African Charter, had been actively interpreted.
That, according to Mr Bitaye, had enabled the consideration of inter-state as well as non-state communications.
Mr Bitaye mentioned that by setting standards in their activities, the commissioners were able to align the African Charter with other international human rights principles while putting in place a system that encouraged significantly the wide access by all to the protective procedures of the commission.
He said each of the eleven commissioners, to ensure the effective discharge of their promotional mandate had been assigned a number of countries to maximize individual and personal oversight of the promotion of rights.
Moreover, the commissioners had also created special mechanisms to address specific human rights issues identified as challenges on the continent, such as, the death penalty, rights of indigenous populations and communities, the prohibition of torture and the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, and recently, the rights of the aged.
Mr Bitaye said whereas the directives of the ACPHR were merely recommendations in the past, the establishment of a special court under a protocol of the African Charter, would now make them enforceable
The only challenge, he said, was a prior declaration that states had to make consenting to allow individuals in their state to bring complaints against them.
Mr Bitaye said without that declaration, individuals from states seeking redress at the commission could not have it enforced and urged all member countries to make the declaration.
The Coordinator of TWN, Africa, Dr Yao Graham, said TWN had taken the opportunity to collaborate with the ACHPR to organise the public lecture as part of their contribution in promoting the work of the commission.

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