Republic of Ghana
Republic of Ghana
Joined United Nations: 8 March 1957
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 29 October 2012
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of
excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher
infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and
changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would
otherwise be expected (July 2012 est.)
John Dramani Mahama
President since 24 July 2012
President and vice president elected on the same ticket by
popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term);
Note - President Mahama assumed office due to the
death of former president Mills note - the president is
both the chief of state and head of government
Election last held 7 December 2008 with a second round held
28 December 2008
Next scheduled election: 7 December 2012
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur
Vice President since 6 August 2012
According to the Ghanaian Constitution, the president is both
the chief of state and head of government
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Grusi 2.6%,
Mande-Busanga 1%, other tribes 1.4%, other 7.8% (2000 census)
Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%,
traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1% (2000 census)
Constitutional Democracy; 10 regions. Legal system is based on English common law and customary law; has not
accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a
second term); note - President Mahama assumed office due to the death of former president Mills note - the president is
both the chief of state and head of government; election last held 7 December 2008 with a second round held 28
December 2008 (next to be held 7 December 2012)
Legislative: Unicameral Parliament (230 seats; note - increased from 200 seats in last election; members are elected by
direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2008 (next to be held 28 December 2012)
Judicial: Supreme Court
Asante 14.8%, Ewe 12.7%, Fante 9.9%, Boron (Brong) 4.6%, Dagomba 4.3%, Dangme 4.3%, Dagarte (Dagaba)
3.7%, Akyem 3.4%, Ga 3.4%, Akuapem 2.9%, other 36.1% (includes English (official)) (2000 census)
Ghana's economy has been strengthened by a quarter century of relatively sound management, a competitive business
environment, and sustained reductions in poverty levels. Ghana is well endowed with natural resources and agriculture
accounts for roughly one-quarter of GDP and employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. The
services sector accounts for 50% of GDP. Gold and cocoa production and individual remittances are major sources of
foreign exchange. Oil production at Ghana's offshore Jubilee field began in mid-December, 2010, and is expected to
boost economic growth. President MILLS faces challenges in managing new oil revenue while maintaining fiscal discipline
and resisting debt accumulation. Estimated oil reserves have jumped to almost 700 million barrels. Ghana signed a
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in 2006, which aims to assist in transforming Ghana's agricultural
sector. Ghana opted for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program in 2002, and is also
benefiting from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative that took effect in 2006. In 2009 Ghana signed a three-year Poverty
Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF to improve macroeconomic stability, private sector competitiveness, human
resource development, and good governance and civic responsibility. Sound macro-economic management along with
high prices for gold and cocoa helped sustain GDP growth in 2008-11.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Ghana)
A presidential election was held in Ghana on 7 December 2008, at the same time as a parliamentary election. Since no
candidate received more than 50% of the votes, a run-off election was held on 28 December, 2008 between the two
candidates who received the most votes, Nana Akufo-Addo and John Atta Mills. Atta Mills was certified as the victor in
the run-off election on January 3, 2009, by a margin of less than one percent.
With 40% of the vote counted, Akufo-Addo was leading with 49.5% to Atta Mills' 47.6%. While Atta Mills pulled ahead
afterwards, Akufo-Addo again led by a slim margin with over 70% of the votes counted.
The second round was rerun on 28 December 2008 but due to logistics problems, the Tain District alone had its run-off
election on 2 January 2009 due to problems with distributing ballots. Following the voting on 28 December, Atta Mills led
by a slim margin, causing the Election Commission to state it would not announce Atta Mills as the winner until after the
election rerun in Tain. Prior to the announcement hundreds of NDC supporters converged on the election headquarters
demanding that Atta Mills be declared the victor, but were kept at bay by riot police and armed soldiers.
Fear of election day violence caused the NPP to file a lawsuit seeking to delay voting in Tain as it claimed that "the
atmosphere in the rural district was not conducive to a free and fair election". The court denied the NPP's injunction
request and said it would only hear the case on 5 January 2009. In response, the NPP called its supporters to boycott the
vote, for which it was criticised by civil groups.
There have been accusation against the media for not covering the election in a fair manner. Following the death of
incumbent President John Atta Mills amid concerns for the election, leader of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said that "the election calendar remains unchanged—it's purely a party matter" and the National
Democratic Congress had to decide who to nominate as its new candidate.
Sources: Wikipedia: Politics of Ghana
Ghana struggles to accommodate returning nationals who worked in the cocoa plantations and escaped fighting in Cote
Refugees (country of origin): 11,585 (Liberia); 16,000 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2011)
Illicit producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; major transit hub for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin
and, to a lesser extent, South American cocaine destined for Europe and the US; widespread crime and money laundering
problem, but the lack of a well developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money laundering center;
significant domestic cocaine and cannabis use.
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Ghana
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Ghana is a constitutional democracy with a strong presidency and a unicameral, 230-seat parliament. In late 2008 the opposition
National Democratic Congress (NDC) won both the presidency and a small majority in parliament in an election deemed generally
free and fair by domestic and international observers. NDC candidate Professor John Evans Atta Mills was inaugurated president in
early 2009 for a four-year term. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of government
The most important human rights problems included trafficking in persons; exploitive child labor, including forced child labor; and
harsh and life-threatening prison conditions.
Other human rights problems included use of excessive force by police, resulting in deaths and injuries; prolonged pretrial
detention; arbitrary arrest of journalists; corruption in all branches of government; violence against women and children, including
female genital mutilation (FGM); societal discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, and persons with HIV/AIDS;
ethnic killings and vigilante violence; ethnic discrimination and politically motivated violence; and societal discrimination against
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.
The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses; however, police impunity remained a problem.
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15 June 2011
Committee against Torture
9 May-3 June 2011
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention
Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the initial report of Ghana. However, it regrets that the report does not follow
generally the Committee’s Guidelines on the form and content of initial reports (CAT/C/4/Rev.3), and that it was submitted nearly
eight years late, which prevented the Committee from conducting an analysis of the implementation of the Convention in the State
party, following its ratification in 2000. The Committee also regrets that the report lacks statistical and practical information on the
implementation of the provisions of the Convention.
3. The Committee appreciates the frank and open discussions it enjoyed with the State party’s delegation, and the additional
information that was provided during the consideration of the report.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the efforts and progress made by the State party since the return to democratic rule in January 1993.
5. The Committee welcomes the fact that in the period since the entry into force of the Convention for the State party in 2000,
Ghana has ratified or acceded to the following international and regional instruments:
(a) The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in 2000;
(b) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocol on individual complaints, in 2000;
(c) The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, in 2000;
(d) The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in 2011.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
Definition and offence of torture
9. While noting that article 15, paragraph (2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment, the Committee regrets that the offence of torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention has not yet been
included in the State party’s Criminal Code. The Committee welcomes the information provided by the State party’s delegation that
the Attorney’s General Office is in the process of seeking Cabinet approval for the domestication of the Convention, which will
then be submitted to Parliament for consideration, in accordance with article 106 of the Constitution (arts. 1 and 4).
The State party should take the necessary measures to ensure that torture is established as an offence in its domestic law, and
should adopt a definition of torture that includes all the elements contained in article 1 of the Convention. The State party should
also ensure that such offences are made punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature, in
accordance with article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention.
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FREEDOM IN THE WORLD REPORT 2012
Political Rights Score: 1
Civil Liberties Score: 2
Mounting tensions within the ruling National Democratic Congress party culminated in a failed attempt by the wife of former
president Jerry Rawlings to replace the incumbent, John Atta Mills, as the party’s standard-bearer in the 2012 presidential poll. With
the NDC’s nomination secured, Atta Mills focused his attention on next year’s rematch against Nana Akufo-Addo of the main
opposition New Patriotic Party. Concerns over electoral violence prompted major Ghanaian political actors to commit to a code of
ethics aimed at discouraging inflammatory campaign rhetoric. Meanwhile, legislation to regulate Ghana’s incipient oil sector
proceeded at a slow pace.
During his first three years in office, Atta Mills has faced the difficult task of attempting to fulfill at least some of his campaign
pledges while also steering Ghana through the global economic crisis. Some NDC supporters, backed by Rawlings, have
complained about the president’s inability to make good on his promises or to “support those who supported him”—a reference to
the patronage networks underlying Ghanaian politics. During the party’s July 2011 party congress, Rawlings’s wife, Nana Konadu
Agyemang Rawlings, challenged Atta Mills for the right to represent the NDC in the 2012 presidential election. Although Atta Mills
survived this challenge, the Rawlings family continued to voice its displeasure with his leadership. In August 2010, the NPP had
again nominated Akufo-Addo to serve as its presidential candidate.
Ongoing divisions within the NDC have led many observers to predict that the 2012 presidential and legislative polls will be decided
by a razor-thin margin. The ruling party’s vulnerability, coupled with growing government revenues from the Jubilee offshore
oilfield, ensure that the elections will be fiercely contested and have raised concerns that electoral violence could break out. In an
effort to address this potential danger, in August 2011 all major political parties agreed to adhere to a code of ethics that call for
them to sharply curtail vitriolic campaign language and to publicly denounce any intimidation or violence that did occur. The
establishment of enforcement bodies to deal with transgressors was proposed in an effort to ensure compliance.
While Ghana has been working to move away from donor dependency, Atta Mills’s government has been forced to make
exceptions to counter the effects of the economic crisis. In 2009, it was awarded $1.2 billion in interest-free loans over three years
from the World Bank and $602.6 million from the International Monetary Fund to help tackle “macroeconomic instability.” During
Atta Mills’s visit to Beijing in October 2010, Ghana and China signed agreements totaling $15 billion in support of infrastructure
projects in the country. Ghana started producing oil for the first time in December 2010; however, growth has been slowed by the
government’s inability to quickly establish regulatory frameworks.
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Suggested recommendations to States considered in the 14th round of the Universal Periodic Review
1 September 2012
Recommendations to the government of 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 the costs of their medical examinations;
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 prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of
domestic violence and female genital mutilation and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence, to prosecute suspects in fair
trials without recourse to the death penalty. 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 (signed on 6 February
2007), to make the declarations set out in Articles 31 and 32 (recognition of the competence of the Committee on Enforced
Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of victims and from other states parties) and to
implement it into national law;
To ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol;
To ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
and to opt-in to the inquiry and inter-state mechanisms.
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Ghana: Disability Rights Convention Ratified
People With Mental Disabilities Need Protection, Community-based Programs
August 22, 2012
(Nairobi) – The announcement by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs on August 21, 2012, of Ghana’s ratification of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirmed Ghana’s commitment to respect the human rights of
all its citizens, including those with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today.
Ghana became the 119th country in the world to ratify the Disability Rights Convention, a landmark international treaty that
mandates the protection and promotion of human rights for the more than 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide. More than 5
million people with disabilities live in Ghana, one-fifth of the total population, including 2.8 million people with mental disabilities.
“This is an important first step to ensuring that the 5 million Ghanaians with disabilities will be treated as equal citizens, with equal
rights,” said Medi Ssengooba, Finberg Fellow at Human Rights Watch. “Ghana now needs to adapt its laws and practices to allow
the promises of the convention to become reality for people with disabilities.”
While Ghana was one of the first countries to sign the Disability Rights Convention, in March 2007, it took the government more
than five years to complete the ratification process. During this delay, people with disabilities, and especially people with mental
disabilities, have continued to experience severe violations of their human rights, including the rights to liberty, access to healthcare,
and freedom from discrimination, Human Rights Watch said.
Under the Disability Rights Convention, people with mental disabilities have the right to make decisions about their own lives,
including where and how they live. They also have the right to be free from torture and other abuses, such as forced medication or
deprivation of food.
In 2011 and 2012, Human Rights Watch documented abuses against people with mental disabilities living in psychiatric hospitals
and prayer camps in the southern part of Ghana. Human Rights Watch found that hundreds of people with disabilities were forced
into these institutions without their consent and subject to severe abuse. Details of these findings will be released in an upcoming
Human Rights Watch report.
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Public Relations Practitioners Urged To Educate Public On Peaceful Election
Friday, 26 October 2012 10:08
Mr Fritz Baffour, Minister of Information has urged Public Relations practitioners to educate the public on the need for peaceful, free
and fair election to consolidate the country’s democratic credentials ahead of the December polls.
He said ensuring peaceful election was a shared responsibility and admonished all and Sundry to be civil in their utterances and avoid
anything untoward to destabilize the peaceful atmosphere and international recognition the country had enjoyed over the years.
Mr Baffour made the call last Wednesday at the 20th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), Ghana and its
40th Anniversary celebration in Accra. He acknowledged the various contributions made by the Institute and its members towards the
development of the country in areas of human resource capacity building in presenting their organizations in the best light to the public.
Mr Baffour added that all public relations practitioners had done their best to market their various organizations and urged IPR and all
practitioners to market the country and its attributes to the outside world.
He noted that this would encourage the citizenry and the international community to take advantage of the conducive atmosphere in
the country to invest and work together for the economic, cultural and socio-political development of the country, the sub-region and
the world at large.
He said since the amendment of its Constitution, it had attracted some seasoned Public Relations professionals and intended to pursue
the project of bringing all practicing professionals into the fold of IPR.
Mr Ofosu said the Institute would in 2013 launch a research fund to assist the research committee to conduct research into
specifically selected areas in Public Relations and communications and the results be published and made available to practitioners.
Mr George Blankson, Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority said the Institute had come of age at 40 years and believed
its impact had deeply been felt across the business landscape, having produced a number of professionals in the country.
Mr Blankson urged practitioners to be vigilant to uphold the highest code of conduct and ethics in their practice and debate national
issues and policies on governance dispassionately with a view to strengthening democracy, human rights and rule of law in the
He urged the Institute to continue providing opportunities for continuous professional development of members through training
programmes to enable them to be relevant in the world of work.
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24 October 2012
CHRAJ warns of rising political tension in Ghana
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), is warning of grave consequences if the tension building
up ahead of the December elections is taken for granted.
Deputy CHRAJ Commissioner, Joseph Whittal is worried about the growing political intolerance, use of inflammatory language
especially on radio talk shows, the allegation of the discovery of a military training camp in a forest, and tape recordings of
politicians plotting to destabilize the country.
He was speaking to Joy News on CHRAJ's pre-election monitoring of the political environment.
According to him, reports gathered as a result of monitoring indicate tension is inching a notch higher.
He cited the language being used by some of the political party representatives, describing them as lacking decorum.
Whittal also berated callers into radio stations for using insulting language in their discourse.
Whilst he did not subscribe to assertions that the country was inching closer to a breaking point, he was quick to add that a lot
needs to be done to ease rising tension in the country.
Other institutions including the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers and the National Peace Council have shared similar
But a cross section of Ghanaians who spoke to Joy News' Fiifi Koomson expressed mixed opinions on the rising tension in the
Whilst some have come to accept the insults and rising tension as part of electioneering campaign, others insist it must be checked
and nipped in the bud.
Meanwhile, Director of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, Dr. Kwesi Aning, told Joy News the oil
discovery appears to have raised the stakes a bit higher in this year's elections.
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CODEO Statement on the Pre- Election Environment for September 2012
10 Oct 2012
COALITION OF DOMESTIC ELECTION OBSERVERS (CODEO)
Ghana Election 2012: Promoting Credible and Peaceful Elections
CODEO Statement on the Pre-Election Environment for September 2012 and
Findings on the Voter Register Exhibition Exercise
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is pleased to release its fourth monthly pre-election environment
observation report. The report covers the month of September and is based on weekly reports filed by CODEO’s pre-election Field
Observers (FOs) who have been deployed to 100 Districts in over 100 Constituencies throughout the country. The September
report also captures CODEO findings on the recently-held provisional voter register exhibition exercise.
Summary of Findings
The Electoral Commission (EC) carried out the Voter Register Exhibition exercise in a generally peaceful manner. The response of
registered voters as well as the involvement of political parties in the exercise was, however, generally lower than expected.
Campaign activities by political parties intensified with some of the parties embarking on house-to-house campaigns and community
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has been sensitizing some communities on the triggers and consequences of
Civil Society groups continue to embark on activities aimed at promoting peaceful elections.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) organized primaries in some outstanding constituencies amidst heavy security, with some of them
being fraught with allegations of foul play.
Exhibition of the Voter Register by the Electoral Commission
CODEO deployed 54 observers during the voter register exhibition exercise organized by the EC from the 1st to 10th of September,
2012. A total of 644 exhibition centers in over 100 constituencies throughout the 10 regions of the country were observed by
CODEO observers who monitored at least one exhibition center a day. Out of this, 54 exhibition centers were observed on the last
day of the exercise, i.e. September 10 and comprehensive data (including total turn-out figures, total
number of missing names, and total number of objections raised) was obtained for all the centers observed on the last day of the
exercise. CODEO observers report that in almost all the centers visited, the exhibition exercise took place in a generally peaceful
atmosphere with no major incidence of violence, harassment or disruption. The following paragraphs highlight the main findings of
the observation exercise.
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The history of Ghana before the last quarter of the 15th century is derived primarily from oral tradition that refers to
migrations from the ancient kingdoms of the western Sahel which is now the area of present-day Mauritania and Mali.
Also, much of the history is derived from myths told by various tribes in the outlying areas. The first contact with
Europeans was made by the Fante nation of the Gold Coast in 1470, when a party of Portuguese landed and met with the
King of Elmina. In 1482, the Portuguese built Elmina Castle, known in Portuguese as Castelo da Mina, as a permanent
trading base. The first recorded English trading voyage to the coast was made by Thomas Windham in 1553. During the
next three centuries, the English, Portuguese, Swedish, Danes, Dutch and Germans controlled various parts of the coastal
areas. In 1806 the Ashanti-Fante War broke out as the Fante were abandoning the allegiance to the Ashanti in favour of
the British. This sparked a long series of wars, as the Ashanti tried to minimize European power in the region. (See also
Ashanti Invasion of the Gold Coast). In 1821, the British Government took control of the British trading forts on the Gold
Coast. Curiously in 1835 a group of Afro-Brazilian returned to Ghana, and today they are known as the Tabom People.
In 1844 Fanti chiefs in the area signed an agreement with the British, that became the legal stepping-stone to colonial
status for the coastal area. The town Cabo Corso was in the hands of the Portuguese before the British took it over and
named it Cape Coast. It then became known as the first capital of the Gold Coast. Residents (Cudjoes) of Cape Coast
who were part of the Fante Empire were the first to learn the English language, and later taught other people in the Gold
Coast. This status endeared the Fantes to the British. It also created a very good relationship between the Fantes in the
Gold Coast and the rest of West Africa. Cape Coast had the first English School in the Gold Coast, known as
Mfantsipim. The school is now about 150 years old. From 1826 to 1900, the British fought a series of campaigns against
the Ashantis. In 1902 the British succeeded in establishing firm control over the Ashanti region and making the northern
territories a protectorate. British Togoland, the fourth territorial element eventually to form the nation, was part of a former
German colony administered by the United Kingdom from Accra as a League of Nations mandate after 1922. In
December 1946, British Togoland became a United Nations Trust Territory, and in 1957, following a 1956 plebiscite, the
United Nations agreed that the territory would become part of Ghana when the Gold Coast achieved independence. On 6
March 1957, Ghana was declared independent and Nkrumah (now hailed as 'Osagyefo' or 'victorious leader') accepted
the role of Prime Minister. On February 24, 1966, the Ghanaian Army and police overthrew Nkrumah's regime with the
help of the American CIA. The 1979 constitution was modeled on those of Western democracies. The Constitution
entered into force on January 7, 1993, to found the Fourth Republic. On that day, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings was
inaugurated as President and members of Parliament swore their oaths of office. President Kufuor took the oath of office
on January 7, 2001, becoming the first elected president in Ghanas history to succeed another elected president. He was
re-elected in December 2004 for a second four-year term, becoming the first civilian president (without a military
background) to fully serve his tenure and go ahead to be re-elected. Following John Kufour term completion, Ghana
conducted an election for President of 07 December 2008, with John Atta Mills prevailing and taking office on 07
January 2009. He died on 24 July 2012 at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, three days after his 68th birthday of a stroke.
Sources: Wikipedia: History of Ghana GhanaWeb: Political History of Ghana
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