Ghanaians urged to demand accountability as a matter of their human rights
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Africa Office, has called on Ghanaians to demand accountability from public officers for the realization of their human rights.
CHRI specifically encourages Ghanaians to demand their human rights as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Coincidentally, December 10 marks International Human Rights Day.
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 2018, CHRI uses the occasion to celebrate successes and recommit to the principles outlined in the Declaration’s 30 Articles.
In a statement, CHRI noted the strides that have been made so far in the 70 years, citing the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who had summarized the gains and prospects of human rights movements as follows:
“Over the past 70 years the Declaration has inspired liberation movements and led to better access to justice, social protections, economic opportunities and political participation. Wherever respect for its commitments has been present, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, suffering prevented and the foundations laid for a more just world. We need to keep pushing forward”.
CHRI again established the relationship which exists between Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how Ghana and Africa at large can realise these goals.
It also noted that the government has a key role to play in the realization of Human Rights but observed “corruption leads to violation of the government’s human rights obligation”.
Find the full statement below:
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2018 COMMEMORATING THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR)
Today December 10th, is a day the world commemorates International Human Rights Day every year. This year also marks the climax of the year-long celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Africa Office joins Ghanaians and the International Community to commemorate the day and Stand up for human rights. As noted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet in a message to commemorate the day, “over the past 70 years the Declaration has inspired liberation movements and led to better access to justice, social protections, economic opportunities and political participation. Wherever respect for its commitments has been present, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, suffering prevented and the foundations laid for a more just world.
We need to keep pushing forward” The human rights movement has made great strides in the past seven decades, but abuses still occur with saddening regularity. The anniversary of the Declaration is an opportunity to celebrate successes and recommit ourselves to the principles outlined in the Declaration’s 30 Articles. The UDHR, with its constant standards of equality, justice and human dignity, lays a solid foundation of a just world for all UN member states and their citizens.
The Declaration is a commitment, by all States, that they will protect and promote human rights. Without the respect for human rights, other equally important UN values such as development, peace and security cannot be attained.
Ghana just like many countries is “big” on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a means of improving the lives of its citizens. Human rights are at the heart of the SDGs, since in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. “A human right is clean water and food (SDG 6, SDG 2), it is health (SDG 3) and the opportunity to lead a peaceful life (SDG 16); It is life on land (SDG 15) and walking the Earth among its many beings (SDG 13, SDG 14).
Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights.” We at the CHRI Africa Office have chosen to focus on Goal 16 and its targets as we commemorate this day, for these lie at the heart of our work.
The goal addresses issues of human security and access to justice; corruption, transparency and accountability; discrimination and exclusion of marginalised groups from political and governance processes as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As Ghana joins the world to commemorate 70 years of the UDHR, CHRI Africa re-iterates calls it made to Government in 2017 i.e. “Human rights are indivisible and interdependent, and the consequences of corrupt governance are multiple and touch on all human rights — civil, political, economic, social and cultural, as well as the right to development.
Corruption leads to violation of the government’s human rights obligation “to take steps… to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”. Corruption will also limit government from meeting the SDGs in general and Goal 16 specifically.
Therefore CHRI Africa once again urges Government to Stand up for Human Rights and take cognizance of the fact that some of the measures that can enhance transparency and accountability and contribute to sustainable anti-corruption measures and the fulfilment of the benefits of the UDHR and the SDGs are the adoption of laws that ensure the public’s access to information on governmental processes, decisions and policies-the Passage of a credible the RTI Bill into law- (which is fundamental to the realization of all other human rights), as well as institutional reforms which strengthen transparency and accountability.
We also call on all Ghanaians to Stand up for Human Rights by demanding accountability from public officers.
Wishing all Ghanaians a Happy and Fruitful Human Rights Day