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Prison conditions were generally harsh and sometimes life threatening due to physical abuse, food shortages, overcrowding, inadequate sanitary conditions, and lack of medical care.
Physical Conditions: Ghana Prisons Service statistics available in August indicated that it held 13,597 prisoners (13,437 men and 160 women) in prisons designed to hold 9,875. Although authorities sought to hold juveniles separately from adults, there were reports of detainees under age 18 being held with adults at Nsawam Prison. Pretrial detainees were housed in the same facilities as convicts but generally in separate cells, although due to overcrowding in convict blocks, Nsawam Prison began housing some convicts in blocks designated for pretrial detainees. A facility dedicated for housing pretrial detainees was under construction adjacent to Nsawam Prison. The Prisons Service held women separately from men. No prison staff specifically focused on mental health, and officials did not routinely identify or offer treatment or other support to prisoners with mental disabilities.
In his 2013 visit, UN Special Rapporteur Mendez characterized prison overcrowding as “alarming.” Some cellblocks in Nsawam Prison contained 115 convicted prisoners sharing a space of approximately 415 square feet. The pretrial detention sections were often even more congested, with cells so overcrowded (40 in a cell designed for four) prisoners were lying head to toe in a fetal position. Prisoners in Sekondi Prison slept in shifts, sitting up, due to lack of space. Many prisoners slept on the floor without a mattress, mat, or blanket. In his follow-up assessment in 2015, Mendez observed no improvements in these prison conditions. A visit in September indicated severe overcrowding, inadequate medical care, and poor sanitation remained problems at Nsawam Prison. Although the government continued to reduce the population of individuals in pretrial detention, dropping 21.9 percent from October 2016 to September 2017, overcrowding remained a serious problem, with certain prisons holding approximately two to four times more prisoners than designed capacity. Special judicial hearings at the prisons under the Justice for All program through October resulted in the discharge of 46 pretrial detainees and the granting of bail to an additional 152.
The government reported 29 deaths in custody through September. Causes of death included severe anemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, septicemic shock, gastrointestinal bleeding, and acute abdominal partial intestinal obstruction.
UN Special Rapporteur Mendez reported guards and other prisoners physically abused prisoners. Prison guards sometimes allegedly used caning to enforce prison rules, carried out usually by “black coats,” a term referring to model prisoners. While the government acknowledged the existence of “black coats,” it denied it gave them special powers or allowed them to exercise disciplinary functions. There were no reports of prison guards or “black coats” abusing prisoners during the year. The government prosecuted five prisoners in Western Region suspected of killing a fellow prisoner in police detention in March.
While prisoners had access to potable water, food was inadequate. Meals routinely lacked fruit, vegetables, or meat, forcing prisoners to rely on their families to supplement their diet. The Prisons Service facilitated farming activities for inmates to supplement feeding. The Prisons Service received five tractors and accessories to further supplement farming activities and was preparing to establish additional farm prisons in the Ashanti Region. Officials held much of the prison population in buildings that were originally colonial forts or abandoned public or military buildings, with poor ventilation and sanitation, substandard construction, and inadequate space and light. The Prisons Service periodically fumigated and disinfected prisons, but sanitation remained poor. There were not enough toilets available for the number of prisoners, with as many as 100 prisoners sharing one toilet, and toilets often overflowed with excrement.
Medical assistants, not doctors, provided medical services, and they were overstretched and lacked basic equipment and medicine. All prison infirmaries had a severely limited supply of medicine. Prisons did not provide dental care. Prison officials referred prisoners to local hospitals to address conditions prison medical personnel could not treat on site. To facilitate treatment at local facilities, the Prisons Service continued to register inmates in the National Health Insurance Scheme. The Ankaful Disease Camp Prison held three prisoners with the most serious contagious diseases.
Religious organizations, charities, and private businesses and citizens often provided services and materials, such as medicine and food, to the prisons. Some organizations reported administrators at the prisons demanded bribes before permitting them to enter.
A study released in 2016 found that as of 2011, 1.6 percent of prisoners in Kumasi, Nsawam, and Sunyani prisons were persons with disabilities, although mental disabilities were likely underreported. Although persons with disabilities reported receiving medicine for chronic ailments and having access to recreational facilities and vocational education, the study found the design of the prisons disadvantaged persons with disabilities, as they had to compete with other prisoners for access to health care and recreational facilities.
Administration: There was no prison ombudsperson or comparable independent authority to respond to complaints; rather, each prison’s officer-in-charge was designated to receive and respond to complaints. Authorities investigated few complaints, as there was a general reluctance to complain even when there were allegations of police brutality or use of excessive force. Authorities undertook few investigations of personnel who may be responsible for an offense under Section 25 of the Prisons Service Act, which prohibits the use of torture or harsh treatment.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted independent monitoring of prison conditions. Local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which were independent of government influence, worked on behalf of prisoners and detainees to help alleviate overcrowding, monitor juvenile confinement, and improve pretrial detention, bail, and recordkeeping procedures to ensure prisoners did not serve beyond the maximum sentence for the charged offenses and beyond the 48 hours legally authorized for detention without charge. Local news agencies also reported on prison conditions.
Fundamental human rights in Ghana and institutions to report violations
Back then when the colour of your skin dictated how you were treated ,the application of human rights was selective.Long gone are those days however. Now every single being is entitled to their rights and also report if the rights are infringed upon. Find out more in this article.
Truth Without Reconciliation: A Human Rights History of Ghana (Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights)
Although truth and reconciliation commissions are supposed to generate consensus and unity in the aftermath of political violence, Abena Ampofoa Asare identifies cacophony as the most valuable and overlooked consequence of this process in Ghana. By collecting and preserving the voices of a diverse cross-section of the national population, Ghana’s National Reconciliation Commission (2001-2004) created an unprecedented public archive of postindependence political history as told by the self-described victims of human rights abuse.
The collected voices in the archives of this truth commission expand Ghana’s historic record by describing the state violence that seeped into the crevices of everyday life, shaping how individuals and communities survived the decades after national independence. Here, victims of violence marshal the language of international human rights to assert themselves as experts who both mourn the past and articulate the path toward future justice.
There are, however, risks as well as rewards for dredging up this survivors’ history of Ghana. The revealed truth of Ghana’s human rights history is the variety and dissonance of suffering voices. These conflicting and conflicted records make it plain that the pursuit of political reconciliation requires, first, reckoning with a violence that is not past but is preserved in national institutions and individual lives. By exploring the challenge of human rights testimony as both history and politics, Asare charts a new course in evaluating the success and failures of truth and reconciliation commissions in Africa and around the world.
“The empirical detail is stunning. Abena Ampofoa Asare makes use of the entire NRC archive to bring out stories that often go unheard in the media and in most traditional justice-related publications. Let us hope that Truth Without Reconciliation will inspire more researchers to do the same around the world.”—Onur Bakiner, Seattle University
“Through an examination of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), Abena Ampofoa Asare paints a nuanced history of Ghana, one in which Ghanaian citizens themselves narrate the violence of the country’s past. These testimonies enlightened me, one or two even made me laugh, and, many times, I had to pause and look away, horrified at the scale of terror people suffered. By presenting the NRC in all its contradictions and in giving voice again to everyday Ghanaians, Asare’s Truth Without Reconciliation makes us critically consider the image of Ghana as a peaceful country and reminds us that there are human rights abuses we as a nation still have to confront.”—Ayesha Harruna Attah, author of The Hundred Wells of Salaga
“A welcome addition to the literature on postindependence Ghana. Abena Ampofoa Asare achieves a thorough historical reconstruction with an emphasis on everyday people, showing the challenges that result from the Ghanian state’s policies and practices. The individual testimonies she presents alone make this book worth the read.”—Benjamin Talton, Temple University
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2018.
Truth Without Reconciliation : A Human Rights History of Ghana
Although truth and reconciliation commissions are supposed to generate consensus and unity in the aftermath of political violence, Abena Ampofoa Asare identifies cacophony as the most valuable and overlooked consequence of this process in Ghana. By collecting and preserving the voices of a diverse cross-section of the national population, Ghana's National Reconciliation Commission (2001-2004) created an unprecedented public archive of postindependence political history as told by the self-described victims of human rights abuse.
The collected voices in the archives of this truth commission expand Ghana's historic record by describing the state violence that seeped into the crevices of everyday life, shaping how individuals and communities survived the decades after national independence. Here, victims of violence marshal the language of international human rights to assert themselves as experts who both mourn the past and articulate the path toward future justice.
There are, however, risks as well as rewards for dredging up this survivors' history of Ghana. The revealed truth of Ghana's human rights history is the variety and dissonance of suffering voices. These conflicting and conflicted records make it plain that the pursuit of political reconciliation requires, first, reckoning with a violence that is not past but is preserved in national institutions and individual lives. By exploring the challenge of human rights testimony as both history and politics, Asare charts a new course in evaluating the success and failures of truth and reconciliation commissions in Africa and around the world.
International Law and Human Rights
With its history as a developing country, Ghana is an important place to get involved in campaigning for human rights and make a real impact on people’s lives. Law & Human Rights internships in Ghana are based in Accra, the capital city of Ghana and outside of Accra. Although voted as one of the beautiful cities in Africa, Accra maintains a noticeable disparity between rich and poor. A huge indicator of this can be seen when walking in town and viewing the housing situations around.
Interning on our Law and Human Rights project in Ghana, will give you the opportunity to work with a well-established Law firm, alongside like-minded interns and passionate staff.
You will gain first-hand experience of law and human rights work in practice, gain knowledge about the legal system, and learn about community involvement. Interns are given the opportunity to get involved at grass roots level, raising awareness about human rights to a variety of people throughout Ghana.
We have placed many interns, from high school and college students to graduates and professionals. The work is suitable to all who have a general interest in human rights and are willing to work hard and dedicate their time to improving the lives of others.
Responsibilities of Interns
Your placement will typically involve several elements. You might be working with or producing information, such as research reports or consulting with clients, handling case work, writing up legal opinions on cases, or visiting court to observe different proceedings. At other times you might visit community groups, schools, or shelters to carry out workshops on specific human rights aspects. There is plenty for you to become involved with and you will definitely be kept busy.
Your legal experience will determine the level of legal work you will be involved in. Some of the more important, complex legal work may be reserved for those who have legal experience. It is also important that you have a good level of English to participate in this project. Strong English skills are especially relevant if you wish to work with the legal services.
All interns need to show a good level of initiative. How much you get out of this experience is related to what you are prepared to put in. Interns, who get involved, ask questions, and make an impact on their supervisors will have a fantastic learning experience.
All interns need to be flexible, communicate well, and work hard as internships are demanding and must be taken seriously. You will be representing a professional organization and you may sometimes have deadlines to meet.
You’ll start each day with breakfast with your host family. Get dressed in semi-formal, conservative clothing before heading off in a tro tro or shared taxi. On your first day, your supervisor will accompany you to ensure you know your way around.
Your day will start at 8am and you’ll finish up at 5pm, Monday to Friday. You’ll get an hour each day for lunch.
On an average day, you’ll arrive at the office and meet up with your supervisors before starting on the day’s work. Morning tasks could range from sitting in on interviews with victims of domestic violence, to attending court.
In the afternoons, you’ll continue with work to support the Domestic Violence and Victim Support team. You may get the chance to plan presentations for educational campaigns, attend meetings, or assist with project planning for future outreaches in the local community.
Once you are done for the day, you can spend time getting to know your host family. Over the weekends, you can explore the beautiful countryside and learn about Ghana’s history at one of the many national museums. You’ll also have the chance to visit Cape Coast and walk through the old fishing town or relax on the beach.
Volunteering in Ghana is an ideal way to explore this colourful West African country. There’s a huge variety of different activities to do while you’re there, giving you plenty of exciting ways to spend your free time.
Music is a central part of Ghanaian culture. In the bigger towns, especially Accra, you will hear some great live bands and have some memorable nights out. Evenings spent at buzzing restaurants will also give you a taste of some of the delicious local cuisine.
For a look into Ghana’s history, you can tour the slave forts of Cape Coast and visit museums. Nature lovers will relish trekking through the rainforests of Kakum National Park or Mole National Park.
We run a wide range of projects in Ghana so there’s sure to be other volunteers there during your trip. This means you can explore the country solo or connect with other volunteers and travel as a group.
Delta Force Fine Is Bad Precedent For Justice
The Fine Isn’t Good For Our Nation’s Peace And Stability
The meager fine of GHC23, 400 imposed on 13 members of the delta force by a Kumasi circuit court recently is not only disappointing but a really bad precedent for the delivery of justice in Ghana and a threat to our peace and security.
We were told by the President of the country that, the thirteen (13) members of the group calling itself delta force, a vigilante group of the ruling New Patriotic Party who were arraigned before court in March 2017 for attacking the newly appointed Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Adjei, would be ruthlessly dealt with.
So many people who were very disgusted at the time by what happened were expecting adequate and befitting punishment for the group to serve as a deterrent for others.
However, that was not to be. As a result, many Ghanaians, including the Stand Ghana team consider the small fine of GHC1,800 for each person unsatisfactory because it does not seem deterrent enough to prevent lawlessness in the country.
What is more worrying is the fact that people are complaining about the judgement being selective and discriminatory in nature because others in similar situation but from different political party had been given harsher punishment than this.
If this kind of perception is not properly addressed by the Police & Judiciary, people will find it normal taking the law into their own hands knowing that they will not face the full rigours of the law as long as their party is in power.
This won’t be good for the government, our democracy, and definitely not good for the larger Ghanaian society.
For further details see: Reference
CITI FM, http://citifmonline.com/2017/10/19/delta-force-13-walk-free-after-paying-ghc23-400-fine/
Ghana Human Rights - History
STATEMENT OF THE GHANA COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE
TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA ,September 03, 2001
Your Excellencies, Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
I thank you most sincerely, Madam Chairperson, for the opportunity to address this timely and important conference on one of the most challenging and pressing issues of our time - the problems and pains of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana salutes the evils and United Nations, the Governments of the world and civil society groups, especially National Human Rights Institutions and human rights NGOs, for their vigorous and sincere efforts to combat the tragic consequences of exclusion, isolation, marginalization, exploitation and victimization based on race, colour, ancestry, ethnic or place of origin, language and religion. In this regard, Madam Chairperson, we recognize that the collective activities of the United Nations, National Human Rights Institutions and human rights NGOs contribute, among other things, to the promotion of a sense of belonging, racial and ethic harmony, and peace and security in the world - values which lie at the heart of our human rights struggles.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana fully endorses the Johannesburg Declaration of National Human Rights Institutions read by Dr. Barney Pityana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, on behalf of the National Human Rights Institutions. The Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action are pragmatic and well-considered, and provide a realistic blueprint for follow-up activities. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana would like to recommend for the serious consideration of National Human Rights Commissions the importance of undertaking the following set of activities in order to better
romote inter-group harmony, prevent racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance:
1. To incorporate themes of positive inter-group relations, multiculturalism, minority rights and peace building in their public education programs
2. To work with Governments, educational authorities and other relevant institutions to integrate human rights, anti-racism, tolerance, diversity, peace and respect for others into the school curricula
3. To work with the media to disseminate information on the value of multiculturalism, appreciation of racial and ethnic diversity, and to avoid ethnic profiling or stereotyping of any
4. To collaborate with national Governments and human rights NGOs in the development of comprehensive National Plans of Action to actively foster inter-group harmony
5. To place significant emphasis on the teaching of conflict resolution skills, especially mediation and conciliation, as effective tools for the prevention, management and resolution of inter-group conflicts
6. The development and institutionalisation of early warning systems to detect potential inter-group conflicts and to take appropriate action to avert them
7. To courageously impress upon governments to act timeously on early warning signs of impending inter-group conflict, especially recommendations and findings contained in reports of National Human Rights Institutions, Committees of Inquiry and credible civil society groups and
8. To encourage national Governments to respect their obligations under domestic and international law to protect all racial, ethnic and migrant communities in their countries
Finally, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana urges National Human Rights Institutions to take seriously their obligation to pursue effective follow-up activities to further the objectives of this Conference. We also call on Governments the world over to provide the necessary financial and human resources to enable National Human Rights Institutions fulfil their constitutional or statutory obligations.
Human Rights Guaranteed By The Constitution of Ghana
(1) The fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in this chapter, shall be respected and upheld by the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and all other organs of government and its agencies, and where applicable to them, by all natural and legal persons in Ghana, and shall be enforceable by the courts as provided for in the constitution.
(2) Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest
(1) No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally except in the exercise of the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana of which he has been convicted
(2) A person shall not be held to have deprived another person of his life in contravention of clause (1) of this article if that person die as a result of a lawful act of war or if that other person dies as a result the of the use of force to such an extent as is reasonably justifiable in the particular circumstances –
a) for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property or
b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained or
c) for the purposes of supressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny or
d) in order to prevent the commission of a crime by that person.
(1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except in the following cases and in accordance with procedure permitted by law-
(a) in execution of a sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted or
(b) in execution of an order of a court punishing him for contempt of court or
(c ) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of an order of a court or
(d) in the case of a person suffering from an infectious or contagious disease, a person of unsound mind, a person addicted to drugs or alcohol or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community or
(e) for the purpose of the education or welfare of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years or
(f) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that person into Ghana, or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that person from Ghana or for the purpose of restricting that person while he is being lawfully conveyed through Ghana in the course of his extradition or removal from one country to another or
(g) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana.
(2) A person who is arrested, restricted or detained shall be informed immediately in a language that he understands, of the reasons for his arrest, restriction or detention and of his right to a lawyer of his choice.
(3) A person who is arrested, restricted or detained-
(a) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of an order of a court or
(b) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana, and who is not released.
Shall be brought before a court within forty-eight hours after the arrest, restriction or detention.
(4) Where a person arrested, restricted or detained under paragraph (a) or (b) of clause (3) of this article is not tried within a reasonable time, then without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him, he shall be released, either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, including in particular, conditions reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial.
(5) A person who is unlawfully arrested, restricted or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation from that order person.
(6) Where a person is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for an offence, any period he has spent in lawful custody in respect of that offence before the completion of his trial shall be taken into account in imposing the term of imprisonment.
(7) Where a person who has served the whole or a part of his sentence is acquitted on appeal by a court, other than the Supreme Court, the court may certify to the Supreme Court that the person acquitted be paid compensation: and the Supreme Court may, upon examination of all the facts and the certificate of the court concerned, award such compensation as it may think fit or, where the acquitted is by the Supreme Court, it may order compensation to be aid to the person acquitted.
(1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
(2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained, be subjected to –
(a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
(b) any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.
(3) A person who has not been convicted of a criminal offence shall not be treated as a convicted person and shall be kept separately from convicted persons.
(4) A juvenile offender who is kept in lawful custody or detention shall be kept separately from an adult offender.
(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour
(3) For the purposes of this article, “forced labour” does not
(a) any labour required as a result of a sentence or order of a court or
(b) any labour required of a member of a disciplined force or service as his duties or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to a service as a member of the Armed Forces of Ghana, ay labour which that person is required by law to perform in place of such service or
(c) any labour required during any period when Ghana is at war or in the event of an emergency or calamity that threatens the life and well-being of the community, to the extent that the requirement of such labour is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during that period for the purposes of dealing with the situation or
(d) any labour reasonably required as part of normal communal or other civic obligations.
(1) All persons shall be equal before the law
(2) A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.
(3) For the purposes of this article, “discriminate” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, gender, occupation, religion or creed, whereby persons of one description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another description which are not granted of persons of another description are not made subject or are granted privileges or advantages which are not granted to persons of another description.
(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from enacting laws that are reasonably necessary to provide-
(a) for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at redressing social, economic or educational imbalance in the Ghanaian society.
(b) for matters relating to adoption, marriage divorce, burial devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law
(c) for the imposition of restrictions on the acquisitions of land by persons who are not citizens of Ghana or on the political and economic activities of such persons and for other matters relating to such persons or
(d) for making different provision for different communities having regard to their special circumstances not being provision which is inconsistent with the spirit of this Constitution.
(5) Nothing shall be taken to be inconsistent with this article which is allowed to be done under any provision of this Chapter
(1) Every person has the right to own property either alone or in association with others.
(2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others
(1) A person charged with a criminal offence shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court.
(2) A person charged with a criminal offence shall-
(a) in the case of an offence other than high treason or treason, the punishment for which is death or imprisonment for life, be tried by a judge and jury and –
(i) where the punishment is death, the verdict of the jury shall be by such majority as Parliament may by law prescribe.
(ii) in case of life imprisonment, the verdict of the jury shall be by such majority as Parliament may by law prescribe
(b) in the case of an offence triable by a Regional Tribunal the penalty for which is death, the decision of the Chairman and the other panel members shall be unanimous
(c) be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty
(d) be informed immediately in a language he understands, and in detail of the nature of the offence charged
(e) be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence
(f) be permitted to defend himself before the court in person by a lawyer of his choice
(g) be afforded facilities to examine, in person or by his lawyer, the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on the same conditions as those applicable to witnesses called by the prosecution.
(h) be permitted to have, without payment by him, the assistance of an interpreter where he cannot understand the language used at the trial and
(i) in the case of the offence of high treason or treason, be tried by the High Court duly constituted by three Justices of that Court and the decision of the Justices shall be unanimous.
(3) The trial of a person charged with a criminal offence shall take place in his presence unless-
(a) he refuses to appear before the court for the trial to be conducted in his presence after he has been duly notified of the trial’ or
(b) he conducts himself in such a manner as to render the continuation of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court order him to be removed for the trial to proceed in his absence.
(4) Whenever a person is tried for a criminal offence the accused person or a person authorized by him shall, if he so requires, be given, within a reasonable time not exceeding six months after judgment, a copy of any record of the accused person.
(5) A person shall not be charged with or held to be guilty of a criminal offence which is founded on an act or omission that did not at the time it took place constitute an offence.
(6) No penalty shall be imposed for a criminal offence that is severer in degree or description than the maximum penalty that could have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.
(7) No person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted, shall again be tried for that offence or for any other criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial for the offence, except on the order of a superior court in court in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal.
(8) Notwithstanding clause (7) of this article, an acquittal of a person on a trial for high treason shall not be a bar to the institution of proceedings for any other offence against that person.
(9) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of clause (2) of this article shall not apply in the case of a trial by a court martial or other military tribunal.
(10) No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall be compelled to give evidence at the trial.
(11) No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless the defined and the penalty for it is prescribed in a written law.
(12) Clause (11) of this article shall not prevent a Superior court from punishing a person for contempt of itself notwithstanding that the act or omission constituting the contempt is not defined in a written law and the penalty is not so prescribed.
(13) An adjudicating authority for the determination of the existence or extent of a civil right or obligation shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be established by law and shall be independent and impartial and where proceedings for determination re instituted by a person before such as adjudicating authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
(14) Except as may be otherwise ordered by the adjudicating authority in the interest of public morality, public safety, or public order the proceedings of any such adjudicating authority shall be in public.
(15) Nothing in this article shall prevent an adjudicating authority from excluding from the proceedings persons, other than the parties to the proceedings and their lawyers, such as extent as the authority-
(a) may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interest of justice or
(b) may be empowered by law to do in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, the welfare of persons under the age of eighteen or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings.
(16) Nothing in, or done under the authority of , any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of, the following provisions-
(a) paragraph (c) of clause (2) of this article, to the extent that the law in question imposes upon a person charged with a criminal offence, the burden of providing particular facts or
(b) clause (7) of this article, to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to try a member of disciplined force for a criminal offence notwithstanding any trial and conviction or acquittal of that member under the disciplinary law of the force, except that any court which tries that member and convicts him shall, in sentencing him to any punishment, take into account any punishment imposed on him under that disciplinary law.
17. Subject to clause (18) of this article, treason shall consist only-
(a) in levying war against Ghana or assisting any state or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against Ghana or
(b) in attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by or under this Constitution or
(c) in taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or take part or be concerned in, any such attempt.
18. An act which aims at procuring by constitutional means an alteration of the law or of the policies of the Government shall not be considered as an act calculated to overthrow the organs of government.
19. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, but subject to clause (20) of this article, Parliament may, by or under an Act of Parliament, established military courts or tribunals for the trial of offences against military law committed by persons subject to military law.
20. Where a person subject to military law, who is not in active service, commits an offence which Is within the jurisdiction of a civil court, he shall not be tried by a court-martial or military of a court-martial or other military tribunal under any law for the enforcement of military discipline.
21. For the purposes of this article, “criminal offence” means a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana.
(1) No property of any description, or interest in or right over any property shall be compulsorily taken possession of or acquired by the State unless the following conditions are satisfied-
(a) the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary in the interest of defence, public safety public under, public morality, public health, town and country planning
(b) the necessity for the acquisition is clearly stated and is such as to provide reasonable justification for causing any hardship that may result to any person who has interest in or right over the property
(2) Compulsory acquisition of property by the State shall only be made under a law which makes provision for –
(a) the prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation and
(b) a right of access to the High Court by any person who has a interest in or right over the property whether direct or on appeal from any other authority, for the determination of his interest or right and the amount of compensation to which he is entitled.
(3) Where a compulsory acquisition or possession of land effected by the State in accordance with class (1) of this article involves displacement of any inhabitants, the State shall resettle the displaced inhabitants on suitable alternative land with due regard for their economic well-being and social and cultural values.
(4) Nothing in this article shall be construed as affecting the operation of any general law so far as it provides for the taking of possession of acquisition of property-
(a) by way of vesting or administration of trust property, enemy property or the property of persons adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt or insolvent, persons of unsound mind, deceased persons or bodies corporate or un-incorporated in the course of being wound up or
(b) in the execution of a judgment or order of a court or
(c) by reason of its being in a dangerous state or injurious to the health of human being, animals or plants or
(d) in consequence of any law with respect to the limitation of actions or
(e) for so long as may be necessary for the carrying out of work on any land for the purpose of the provision of public facilities or utilities, except that where any damage results from any such work there shall be paid appropriate compensation.
(5) Any property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired in the public interest or for a public purpose shall be used only in the public interest or for the public purpose for which it was acquired.
(6) Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option for acquiring the property and shall, on such re-acquisition refund the whole or part of the compensation paid to him as provided for by law or such other amount as is commensurate with the value of the property at the same time of the re-acquisition.
(1) All persons shall have the right to-
(a) freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media
(b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom
(c) freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practice
(d) freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations.
(e) freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form or join trade unions or other associations, national and international, for the protection of their interest
(f) information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society
(g) freedom of movement which means the right to move freely in Ghana, the right to leave and to enter Ghana and immunity from expulsion from Ghana. (2) A restriction on a person’s freedom of movement by his lawful detention shall not be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article.
(3) All citizens shall have the right and freedom to form or join political parties and to participate in political activities subject to such qualifications and law as are necessary in a free and democratic society and are consistent with this Constitution.
(4) Nothing in, or done under the authority of, a law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision-
(a) for the imposition of restrictions by order of a court, that are required in the interest of defence, public safety or public order, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person or
(b) for the imposition of restrictions, by order of a court, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person either as a result of his having been found guilty of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana or for the purposes of ensuring that he appears before a court at a later date for trial for a criminal offence or for proceedings relating to his extradition or lawful removal from Ghana or
(c) for the imposition of restrictions that are reasonably required in the interest of defence, public safety, public health or the running of essential services, on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person or persons generally, or any class or persons or
(d) for the imposition of restrictions on the freedom of entry into Ghana, or of movement in Ghana, of a person who is not a citizen of Ghana or
(e) that is reasonably required for the purpose of safeguarding the people of Ghana against the teaching or propagation of a doctrine which exhibits or encourages disrespect for the nationhood of Ghana, the national symbols and emblems, or incites hatred against other members of the community
except so far as that provision or as the case may be, the thing done under the authority of that law is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in terms of the spirit of this Constitution.
(5) Whenever a person, whose freedom of movement has been restricted by the order of a court under paragraph (a) of clause (4) of this article, request at any time during the period of that restriction not earlier than seven days after the order was made, or three months after he last made such request, as the case may be, his case shall be reviewed by that Court.
(6) On a review by a court under clause (5) of this article, the court may, subject to the right of appeal from its decision, make such order for the continuation or termination of the restriction as it considers necessary or expedient.
(1) A spouse shall not be deprived of a reasonable provision out of the estate of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having made a will.
(2) Parliament shall, as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this Constitution, enact legislation regulating the property rights of spouses.
(3) With a view to achieving the full realization of the rights referred to in clause (2) of this article-
(a) spouses shall have equal access to property jointly acquired during marriage
(b) assets which are jointly acquired during marriage shall be distributed equitably between the spouses upon dissolution of the marriage
Administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions shall have the right to seek redress before a court or other tribunal.
(1) Every person has the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions, and shall receive equal pay for equal work without distinction of any kind.
(2) Every worker shall be assured of rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periods of holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.
(3) Every worker has a right to form or join a trade union of his choice for the promotion and protection of his economic and social interests.
(4) Restrictions shall not be placed on the exercise of the right conferred by clause (3) of this article except restrictions prescribed by law and reasonably necessary in the interest of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedom of others.
(1) All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realization of that right-
(a) basic education shall be free, compulsory an available to all
(b) secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education
(c) high education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education
(d) functional literacy shall be encouraged or intensified as far as possible.
(e) the development of a system of schools with adequate facilities at all levels shall be actively pursued.
(2) Every person shall have the right, at his own expense, to establish an maintain a private school or schools at all levels and of such categories and in accordance with such conditions as may be provided by law.
(1) Every person is entitled to enjoyed, practise, profess, maintain and promote any culture, language, tradition or religion subject to the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) All customary practices which dehumanize or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person are prohibited.
(1) Special care shall be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after child-birth and during those periods working mothers shall be accorded paid leave.
(2) Facilities shall be provided for the care of children below school-going age to enable women, who have the traditional care for children, realize their full potential.
(3) Women shall be guaranteed equal rights to training and promotion without any impediments from any person.
(1) Parliament shall enact such laws as are necessary to ensure that-
(a) every child has the right to the same measure of special care, assistance and maintenance as is necessary for its development from its natural parents, except where those parents have effectively surrendered their rights and responsibilities in respect of the child in accordance with law
(b) every child, whether or not born in wedlock, shall be entitled to reasonable provision out of the estate of its parents
(c) parents undertake their natural right and obligation of care, maintenance and upbringing of their children in co-operation with such institution as Parliament may, by law, prescribe in such manner that in all cases the interest of the children are paramount
(d) children and young persons receive special protection against exposure to physical and moral hazards and
(e) the protection and advancement of the family as the unit of society are safeguarded in promotion of the interest of children.
(2) Every child has the right to be protected from engaging in work that constitutes a threat to his health, education or development.
(3) A child shall not be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
(4) No child shall be deprived by any other person of medical treatment, education or any other social or economic benefit by reason only of religious or other beliefs.
(5) For the purposes of this article, “child” means a person below the age of eighteen years.
(1) Disabled persons have the right to live with their families or with foster parents and to participate in social, creative or recreational activities.
(2) A disabled person shall not be subjected to different treatment in respect of his residence other than that required by his condition or by the improvement which he may derive from the treatment.
(3) If the stay of a disabled person in a specialized establishment is indispensable, the environment and living conditions there shall be as close as possible to those of the normal life of a person of his age.
(4) Disabled persons shall be protected against all exploitation, all regulations and all treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature.
(5) In any judicial proceedings in which a disabled person is a party the legal procedure applied shall take his physical and mental condition into account.
(6) As far as practicable, every place to which the public have access shall have appropriate facilities for disabled persons.
(7) Special incentives shall be given to disabled persons engaged in business and also to business organizations that employ disabled persons in significant numbers.
(8) Parliament shall enact such laws as are necessary to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
A person who by reason of sickness or any other cause is unable to give his consent shall not be deprived by any other person of medical treatment, education or any other social or economic benefit by reason only of religious or other beliefs.
(1) The President may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that a state of emergency exists in Ghana or in any part of Ghana for the purposes of the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, where a proclamation is published under clause (1) of this article , the President shall place immediately before Parliament, the facts and circumstances leading to the declaration of the state of emergency.
(3) Parliament shall, within seventy-two hours after being so notified, decided whether the proclamation should remain in force or should be revoked and the President shall act in accordance with the decision of Parliament.
(4) A declaration of a state of emergency shall cease to have effect at the expiration of a period of seven days beginning with the date of publication of the declaration, unless, before the expiration of that period, it is approved by a resolution passed for that purpose by a majority of all the members of Parliament.
(5) Subject to clause (7) of this article, a declaration of a state of emergency approved by a resolution of Parliament under clause (4) of this article shall continue in force until the expiration of a period of three months beginning with the date of its being so approved or until such earlier date as may be specified in the resolution.
(6) Parliament may, by resolution passed by a majority of all members of Parliament, extend its approval of the declaration for periods of not more than one month at a time.
(7) Parliament may, by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of Parliament, at any time, revoke a declaration of a state of emergency approved by Parliament under this article.
(8) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the provisions of any enactment, other than an Act of Parliament, dealing with a state of emergency declared under clause (1) of this article shall apply only to that part of Ghana where the emergency exists.
(9) The circumstances under which a state of emergency may be declared under this article a natural disaster and any situation in which any action is taken or is immediately threatened to be taken by any person or body or persons which-
(a) is calculated or likely to deprive the community of the essentials of life or
(b) renders necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Ghana and the maintenance of public order and of supplies and service essential to the life of the community.
(10) Nothing in, or done under the authority of, an Act of Parliament shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, articles 12 to 30 of this Constitution to the extent that the Act in question authorizes the taking, during any period when a state of emergency is in force, of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purposes of dealing with the situation that exists during that period.
(1) Where a person is restricted or detained by virtue of a law made pursuant to a declaration of a state of emergency, the following provisions shall apply-
(a) he shall as soon as practicable, and in any case not later than twenty-four hours after the commencement of the restriction or detention, be furnished with a statement in writing specifying in detail the grounds upon which he is restricted or detained and the statement in writing specifying in detail the grounds upon which he is restricted o detained, and the statement shall be read or interpreted to the person restricted or detained
(b) the spouse, parent, child or other available next of kin of the person restricted or detained shall be informed of the detention or restriction within twenty-four hours after the commencement of the detention or restriction and be permitted access to the detention or restriction and be permitted access to the person at the earliest practicable opportunity and in any case within twenty-four hours after the commencement of the restriction or detention
(c) not more than ten days after the commencement of his restriction or detention, a notification shall be published in the Gazette and in the media stating that he has been restricted or detained and giving particulars of the provision of law under which his restriction or detention is authorized and the grounds of his restriction or detention
(d) not more than ten days after commencement of his restriction or detention, and after that, during his three months, his case shall be reviewed by a tribunal composed of not less than three Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature appointed by the Chief Justice except that the same tribunal shall not review more than once the case of a person restricted or detained
(e) he shall be afforded every possible facility to consult a lawyer of his choice who shall be permitted to make representations to the tribunal appointed for the review of the case of the restricted or detained person
(f) at the hearing of his case, he shall be permitted to appear in person or by a lawyer of his choice.
(2) On a review by a tribunal of the case of a restricted or detained person, the tribunal may order the release of the person and the payment to him of adequate compensation or uphold the grounds of his restriction or detention and the authority by which the restriction or detention was ordered shall act accordingly.
(3) In every month in which there is a sitting of Parliament, a Minister of State authorized by the President, shall make a report to Parliament of the number of persons restricted or detained by virtue of such a law as is referred to in clause (10) of article 31 of this Constitution and the number of cases in which the authority that ordered the restriction or detention has acted in accordance with the decision of the tribunal appointed under this article.
(4) Notwithstanding clause (3) of this article, the Minister referred to in that clause shall publish every month in the Gazette and in the media-
(a) the number and the names and addresses of the persons restricted or detained
(b) the number of cases reviewed by the tribunal and
(c) the number of cases in which the authority which ordered the restriction or detention has acted in accordance with the decisions of the tribunal appointed under this article.
(5) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that at the end of an emergency declared under clause(1) of article 31 of this Constitution, a person in restriction or detention or in custody as a result of the declaration of the emergency shall be released immediately.
Clause(1) Where a person alleges that a provision of this Constitution on the fundamental human rights and freedoms has been, or is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him, then, without prejudice to any other action that is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress
(2) The High Court may, under clause (1) of this article issue such directions or orders or writs including writs or orders in the nature of habeas corpus, certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and quo warranto as it may consider appropriate for the purposes of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any the fundamental human rights and freedoms to the protection of which the person concerned is entitled.
(3) A person aggrieved by a determination of High Court may appeal to the Court of Appeal with the right of a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
(4) The Rules of Court Committee may make rules of court with respect to the practice and procedure of the Superior Courts for the purposes of this article.
(5) The rights, duties, declarations and guarantees relating to the fundamental human rights and freedoms specifically mentioned in this Chapter shall not be regarded as excluding others not specifically mentioned which are considered to be inherent in a democracy and intended to secure the freedom and dignity of man.
Ghana: Discrimination, Violence against LGBT People
(Accra) – Ghanaians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) suffer widespread discrimination and abuse both in public and in family settings, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While some Ghanaian officials have publicly called for an end to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the government has yet to repeal a colonial-era law that criminalizes same-sex activity.
The 72-page report, “’No Choice but to Deny Who I Am’: Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Ghana,” shows how retention of section 104(1)(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 prohibiting and punishing “unnatural carnal knowledge,” and failure to actively address violence and discrimination, relegate LGBT Ghanaians to effective second-class citizenship. Police officials and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) have taken some steps to protect LGBT people. But they are still frequent victims of physical violence and psychological abuse, extortion, and discrimination in many aspects of their daily life.
“No Choice but to Deny Who I Am”
Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Ghana
Download the full report in English
Download the annex of the report
“Having a law on the books that criminalizes adult consensual same-sex conduct contributes to a climate in which LGBT people are frequently victims of violence and discrimination,” said Wendy Isaack, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Homophobic statements by local and national government officials, traditional elders, and senior religious leaders foment discrimination and in some cases, incite violence.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 114 LGBT people in Accra, Tamale, Kumasi, and Cape Coast in December 2016 and February 2017. Human Rights Watch also interviewed three representatives of human rights organizations based in Ghana, a CHRAJ complaints officer, the assistant police commissioner, and three diplomats in Accra.
Many of those interviewed said that the law contributes to a climate in which violence and discrimination against LGBT people is common. The provision is rarely, if ever, used to prosecute people, and unlike several of its neighbors, Ghana has not taken steps in recent years to stiffen penalties against consensual same-sex conduct or to expressly criminalize sexual relations between women.
“The government should recognize that we are human beings, with dignity, not treat us as outcasts in our own society,” said a 40-year old lesbian from Cape Coast. “We want to be free, so we can stand tall in public and not deal with obstacles and harassment daily – this will make it easier for us to get an education, learn a trade, get jobs and be useful and productive Ghanaians.”
The Ghana Police Service has at times responded appropriately to abuses against LGBT people, for example in cases of false accusation and blackmail of gay men in Tamale. CHRAJ has an online system to register allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and has processed 36 cases.
Three young women can't ever return home because of their sexuality&#13
But in February 2017, Mike Ocquaye, the parliament speaker, referred to homosexuality as an “abomination” and called for stricter laws against same-sex conduct. In July, during a public discussion about prospects for abolishing the death penalty, he equated homosexuality with bestiality. His comments have heightened tensions for LGBT people and contributed to an increase in calls by some opinion leaders, including other members of parliament, to further criminalize same-sex activity.
In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, President Nana Akufo-Addo made rather conciliatory remarks. When asked why the law remained on the books, he said he did not believe “a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion that will say change it – let’s then have new paradigm in Ghana.”
Dozens of LGBT people have been attacked by mobs or by members of their own families, Human Rights Watch found. In August 2015, in Nima, a town in the Accra region, members of Safety Empire, a vigilante group, brutally assaulted a young man they suspected was gay. In May 2016, in a village outside Kumasi in the Ashanti region, the mother of a young woman organized a mob to beat up her daughter and another woman because she suspected they were lesbians and in a same-sex relationship. The two young women were forced to flee the village.
Lesbians, bisexual women and transgender men are frequently victims of family violence, Human Rights Watch found. Lesbians described being threatened, beaten, and driven from their homes after family members learned of their sexual orientation. One woman said that when her family heard that she was associating with LGBT people, they chased her out of the house with a machete. She has not been able to go back home to visit her 2-year old daughter. LGBT people’s fear that the law could be used against them, combined with social stigma, serves as a barrier to seeking justice, Human Rights Watch found.
The law is inconsistent with basic tenets of the Ghanaian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law, respect for human dignity and the right to privacy. The law also violates several human rights treaties that Ghana has ratified. In April 2014, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted its groundbreaking resolution 275, calling on African governments to prevent and punish all forms of violence targeting people on the basis of their real and imputed sexual orientation or gender identity.
The government of Ghana should repeal the specific provision in the Criminal Offences Act that criminalizes unnatural carnal knowledge and act swiftly to protect LGBT people from all forms of discrimination, intimidation and violence based on their real or imputed sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ghanaian authorities should also engage in a constructive dialogue with the LGBT population to better understand its needs – with a particular focus on addressing the intersecting forms of discrimination that affect lesbian and bisexual women – and ensure that the necessary legislative and policy measures are taken to ensure their safety, dignity, and equality.
“LGBT Ghanaians should have the same protection from the government as everyone else,” Isaack said. “And the government should work to address the stigma that subjects people to violence in their own homes, the place where they should feel safest.”