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General News of Monday, 3 April 2017

Source: graphic.com

CHRAJ dealt with 8,500 human rights cases last year

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) received and dealt with 8,500 human rights cases nation-wide last year. Three hundred and forty-one administrative justice issues were received and dealt with in the same period, with some of the directives setting aside administrative decisions that negatively impacted people.

On corruption, 59 cases were received by the commission and dealt with.

“These were done with the type of resources we had and we are believing that with more resources, as has been reflected in the budget, we should be able to do even more,” the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra yesterday.

Scale up

Mr Whittal said it was his vision to scale up the efforts of the commission in the past 15 years, which had been protecting and securing the rights of the vulnerable, ensuring administrative justice and integrity in public conduct.

He said work done in the past year in the protection of the rights of the vulnerable was noteworthy and in line with that vision.

For administrative justice, he said, the focus on accountability on the part of public officers in their decisions and actions, rather than the review of those actions when breaches had already occurred, would still be emphasised.

On anti-corruption efforts, holding public officials responsible in terms of their integrity and conduct was at the heart of the work.

Service

Mr Whittal said in line with these, CHRAJ and the Public Sector Reform Secretariat had developed a standard template to guide the development of client service charters for public institutions.

The client service charters were to provide information to Ghanaians on their rights in demanding services, Mr Whittal said.

The charters of the various institutions would spell out the service to be accessed, how soon a person could access it, who to complain to when the service was not rendered and where else a complaint could be made when a client was not satisfied with the internal redress mechanisms.

Accountable

“That is holding public services truly accountable for service delivery to the ordinary person,” Mr Whittal said.

It was in line with the emphasis on proactive engagements for right actions, rather than reviewing bad administrative decisions when they had already been taken, he maintained.

He added that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was supporting the launch of the standardised template which would be by the middle of the year.

When launched, all ministries, departments and agencies would amend their charters in accordance with the standard, he indicated.

Report

Mr Whittal also said CHRAJ and its partners would be finalising the Corruption Report for 2016 to be made available to the public as prescribed in the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) by the second week of April.

He added that that was being done “so that the public would know how many institutions acted and in which ways to advance the fight against corruption.”

He said public institutions which also did not act to curb corruption would also be cited in the report.

International

Mr Whittal, however, said he was not happy about Ghana’s international responsibilities and obligations in relation to treaties the country had committed to.

He said the country had not been reporting on its obligations and the attention of the government had been drawn to that with each other.