Human rights should be taught in schools — Akoto Ampaw

Anthony Akoto Ampaw, a lawyer and human rights campaigner, believes it is critical to incorporate human rights education in the country’s educational curricula.

He claims that instilling human rights concepts and beliefs at all stages of school will make individuals aware of their rights and respect the rights of others.

“I can guarantee you that if we included human rights in our curriculum, by the time youngsters graduate from junior high and senior high school and enter society, they will have a good understanding of their own rights as well as the rights of their fellow citizens,” he stated.

He was addressing at a workshop for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the UN Universal Periodic Review (UN UPR), a UN process that assesses nations’ human rights records and adherence to human rights ideals.
It was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the POS Foundation, a CSO, and dubbed: ‘CSO’s Report Submission: The use of technology amidst COVID-19 in the promotion of Ghana’s human rights record under UN UPR Mechanism for the 4th Cycle Review.’


The UPR was initiated in 2006 after the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), and it became one of the core mandates of the council. It is a unique mechanism where each of the 193 UN member countries is peer-reviewed and examined on its human rights record every five years regardless of its size or political influence.

As part of the review, countries are obliged to respond to recommendations by their peers and also provide data on the implementation of recommendations previously accepted.

The HRC examined Ghana’s human rights record for the first time in May 2008, then again in October 2012, and finally in November 2017.

The country’s next assessment was meant to take place next year, however it has been postponed until January 2023 owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Ghana usually submits two reports to the HRC for review: one by civil society organizations coordinated by the POS Foundation, and another by the government.

Jonathan Owusu, Executive Director of the POS Foundation, said CSOs had worked with the government at various levels over the years to ensure the nation honored its UPR duties.

According to him, the POS and other CSOs are now working on a web platform that will serve as a repository for the country’s UPR operations, in collaboration with the UNDP.


This isn’t supposed to be humiliating.


The UN Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr Angela Lusigi, stated in a speech read on her behalf that the UPR was not intended to criticize any nation for its human rights record, but rather to help governments discover holes in their systems.

“Countries are invited to prepare National Action Plans in response to the review’s recommendations.” As a result, the UPR reporting serves as an accountability tool,” she explained.

She emphasized the relevance of human rights to national and human development, citing them as the bedrock for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“In practice, more than 90% of the SDG objectives are tied to laws of international human rights treaties. She went on to say, “This accountability for human rights is equally accountability for the SDGs.”


The government has made a commitment


In a speech delivered on his behalf, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame said the government was dedicated to the advancement of human rights and was always trying to achieve its UPR duties.

He praised civil society organizations and the media for consistently bringing attention to human rights concerns and assisting in the drafting of reports to be submitted to the Human Rights Council.



Source: Daily Graphic

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