GHANA

In the context of the UPR, Amnesty International makes the following recommendations to Ghana

Follow up to the previous review:
•    To ensure that the Domestic Violence and Support Unit is adequately resourced and able to provide protection and services to victims of violence;
•    To fully implement national legislation to eradicate domestic violence, including the 2007 Domestic Violence Act;
•    To ensure that victims of violence are not obliged to pay for their medical examination;
•    To harmonize norms of citizenship for foreign spouses in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
•    To protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to amend the Criminal Code to repeal the provision that criminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults;
•    To ensure that effective and prompt investigations are carried out into all allegations of domestic violence and female genital mutilation, and that those responsible are brought to justice.


Ratification of international human rights treaties and protection of human rights in the Constitution and national legislation:
•    To ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
•    To amend Article 13 of the Constitution to ensure the grounds permitting the use of lethal force are in line with international standards, including the requirement for the existence of an imminent or grave threat of death or serious injury;
•    To pass the Freedom of Information Bill;
•    To incorporate the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights into national law and recognize these rights as legally enforceable rights;
•    To include reference to housing rights in the Constitution, and enact legislation to protect against forced eviction;
•    To expunge corporal punishment from the Prisons Service Decree.


Universal jurisdiction and crimes under international law:
•    To define the following as crimes under Ghanaian law:  war crimes defined in international humanitarian law treaties applicable during non-international armed conflict; crimes against humanity; “other acts” of genocide (such as conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempt and complicity); extrajudicial execution; enforced disappearance; aggression, and all other war crimes outlined in the Rome Statute not already defined as crimes under Ghanaian law;
•    To empower the national courts to exercise universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, torture, extrajudicial executions, and enforced disappearances.


The death penalty:
•    To abolish the death penalty as recommended by the Constitution Review Commission;
•    Pending abolition of the death penalty, to take the following steps as a matter of urgency;
•    To establish an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view to abolition;
•    To commute without delay all death sentences to terms of imprisonment;
•    To ensure that any person previously sentenced to death, subsequent to commutation, is removed from special prison facilities, especially from death row, and transferred to regular institutions of detention appropriate for the age of the offender and the offence committed;
•    To ensure that the most rigorous internationally recognized and constitutional standards for fair trial are respected in capital cases.


Access to justice and prisons:
•    To extend invitations to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and the African Commission Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention to visit Ghana in the near future;
•    To immediately commit to address over-crowding in prisons and to ensure that prison conditions meet international standards, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules);
•    To ensure all detainees have access to a lawyer of their choice, including through the implementation of an enhanced legal aid system that reaches all regions of Ghana;
•    To review cases to assess how long remand prisoners have been in pre-trial detention, with a view to ending the imprisonment of those who have been held for a time commensurate with normal sentences for their crime.


Housing rights:
•    To enact and enforce a law prohibiting forced evictions;
•    To amend the Constitution to protect housing rights and ensure that economic, social and cultural rights can be enforced by the courts;
•    To develop and adopt guidelines for evictions in line with the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement and international human rights law.


Human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people:
•    To ensure thorough and impartial investigation into all allegations of attacks and threats against individuals targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and bring to justice those responsible in accordance with international standards of fair trial;
•    To take effective measures to combat the climate of homophobia.


Human rights violations by the police and security forces:
•    To instruct the security forces to always act in compliance with international human rights law and to respect the right to life and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
•    To fully and impartially investigate all allegations of human rights violations by members of the police or security forces and to suspend from active duty and bring to justice those suspected of involvement in human rights violations in order to end impunity for human rights violations by the police and security forces.

 

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Ghana: Amnesty International's submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review