Ghana’s new President must commit to human rights

The African republic of Ghana swore in a new President on Wednesday. Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won more than 50 percent of the votes in a second round of the country’s election on 28 December.Professor Atta Mills takes power in a country that has seen considerable improvements in the human rights situation since 1992. However, there remain a number of human rights problems which require immediate action, such as violence against women, the death penalty and unfair trials.Amnesty International said that the inauguration of the new government provides a good opportunity to show that Ghana is truly and fully committed to the protection of internationally recognized human rights.

The organization has highlighted the issues in need of improvement in its new document, “Seven point human rights agenda for the new government.”Professor Atta Mills replaces President John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who was required to stand down after completing two terms. Professor Atta Mills had previously stood against John Kufuor in 2000 and 2004, and was vice-president from 1997-2001 under Jerry Rawlings.The election was observed by a Pan-African Parliament Election Observers and the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission. The EU mission concluded that, despite incidents of violence and disruptions of the polling in a limited number of cases, the second round of the election in Ghana was been conducted in an open, transparent and competitive environment.”Seven point human rights agenda for the new government” calls on the new President to make human rights central to his political programme and to commit to implement a clear agenda for human rights which should include the following seven points:

Full compliance with Ghana’s international and regional human rights obligations and     commitments, as explicitly set out in the treaties it has ratified. The abolition of the death penalty An end to illegal detentions, and prompt and fair trials in accordance with international human rights treaties and standards. Significant reductions in the overcrowding in prisons and other places of detention Eradicating violence against women. Immediately stop and prevent forced evictions. Effective protection against so called mob violence.