The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.
The Women’s Rights Unit works towards the popularisation and implementation of the Maputo Protocol in Africa. Specifically, the Centre works towards strengthening the implementation of the Maputo Protocol in support of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa. One of the ways in which this is done is through the training of African states who have ratified the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol on fulfilling their reporting obligations to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission).
The Centre was represented by Ms Patience Mungwari Mpani, Ms Satang Nabaneh and Ms Lydia Chibwe from the Women’s Rights Unit and Professor Michelo Hansungule, Professor of Human Rights Law at the Centre. The Moremi Initiative was represented by Ms Saajida Shiraz and Ms Jennifer Atana.
The state reporting workshop was geared towards strengthening the capacity of various ministries, the National Human Rights Commission and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in fulfilling Ghana’s reporting obligations as provided in Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol.
The first day of the workshop commenced with remarks from Dr Isaac Annan, the Director of the Human Rights Department, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). In his address, he gave an overview of the importance of state reporting in the promotion and protection of human rights. He noted that Ghana ratified the African Charter in 1989 and the Maputo Protocol in 2007 without reservation. Dr Isaac noted that state reporting is important in order to maintain and uphold human rights in a country. Mr Cecil Kwashie Adadevoh, the Chief State Attorney in the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice in his opening remarks welcomed such a workshop in supporting Ghana’s country’s efforts and commitments to fulfilling its reporting obligations to the African Commission.
Presentations on the first day introduced participants to the African regional system of human rights, the principles and substantive provisions of the African Charter and its Protocols and their applicability in Ghana. There was also a panel on the human rights situation in Ghana. It comprised of Rev. Dr. Comfort Asare, Director of the Department of Gender in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana, Mr Cecil Kwashie Adadevoh, Chief State Attorney at Ministry of Justice of Ghana, Ms Araba Patricia Annan, a project officer from Gender Centre, and Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Founder and Executive Director of the POS Foundation (a human rights and youth development centred NGO).
The discussions centred around issues regarding women’s participation in key decision-making processes and access to opportunities. It was noted that women were not actively participating in politics and therefore were not able to occupy places of influence. This is primarily due to the patriarchal nature of societies. It was also noted that women in most cases were not looking forward to gender equality due to cultural issues that believes that men should be heads whilst women should be submissive. It was also noted during the discussion that Ghana was putting effort in trying to end child marriages and had put in place a ten-year strategic plan to address the above mentioned. There were also collaborative efforts that were reported in trying to address the issues associated with health and reproductive rights
On the second day participants were introduced to the reporting guidelines issued by the African Commission on the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol. Additionally, the role of civil society and national human rights institutions in the state party reporting process was discussed. On the last day, participants also had the opportunity to do practical state reporting exercises.
A report of the workshop can also be found here.
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