2022 Country Report on Human Rights

2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ghana

Exploring Ghana’s Human Rights Landscape: Key Findings from the US State Department’s 2022 Country Reports.

The United States Department of State recently released its 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which provide an assessment of the human rights situation in countries around the world. The report for Ghana highlights both positive developments and ongoing concerns related to human rights in the country.

Political and Civil Rights

Ghana is considered to have a relatively open and democratic political system. However, the report notes that there were concerns about the impartiality of some institutions, such as the judiciary, and reports of government interference in media outlets. There were also reports of police brutality and corruption within the police force.

The report notes that there were instances of harassment and intimidation of journalists, including the arrest of journalists who reported on corruption allegations against government officials. Additionally, there were reports of censorship and government interference in the media, including the suspension of some radio stations for alleged violations of broadcasting regulations.

The government took steps to address these issues, including the establishment of a commission to investigate police brutality and the creation of a fund to support media outlets. However, the report states that more needs to be done to ensure that all citizens have equal access to justice and freedom of expression.

The government upholds the constitutional right to freedom of expression, encompassing media and press, despite some reported abuses. However, in February, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, an activist and convenor of the #FixTheCountry movement who criticized the government, was arrested and initially charged with making false statements. Later, the charges were upgraded to felony treason, and he was detained for 35 days before being released on bail by a judge.

Human Trafficking & Labour Rights

In Ghana, human trafficking poses a significant threat, especially to women and children who are at higher risk. While the government has taken some actions to combat this problem, including the implementation of a national action plan and prosecuting traffickers, doubts persist about the effectiveness of these measures. Additional measures are necessary to safeguard vulnerable populations and prevent human trafficking.

Though labour rights in Ghana are generally upheld, concerns about child labour and forced labour in specific sectors like agriculture and mining persist. The government has implemented a national plan aimed at eradicating child labour and prosecuting those involved in forced labour. Despite these efforts, doubts remain about their effectiveness, and more work is required to ensure the protection of workers’ rights.

Gender and Sexual Orientation

The report highlights the persistent problem of gender-based violence and discrimination faced by women and girls in Ghana. Furthermore, incidents of discrimination and violence targeting people based on their gender identity and sexual orientation were also reported. While the government has initiated measures like the adoption of a national policy on gender and the formation of a task force to combat violence against women, there is still a pressing need to guarantee fair and respectful treatment for all individuals.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is generally respected in Ghana, with the country being known for its religious tolerance. However, there were reports of violence and discrimination against minority religious groups, particularly in the northern regions of the country. The government has taken steps to address these issues, including the creation of a commission to promote religious harmony. However, more needs to be done to ensure that all individuals are able to practice their religion without fear of discrimination or violence.

Conclusion

In summary, the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices suggest that Ghana has made progress in certain areas of human rights, but there are still persistent concerns that require attention. The report emphasizes the need to tackle issues like human trafficking, labor rights, and gender-based violence to guarantee that all people in Ghana can live with dignity and respect for their human rights.

Moreover, the report highlights the crucial role of government action in promoting and safeguarding human rights. While the Ghanaian government has taken steps towards addressing some of these concerns, there is still more to be done to ensure that everyone can exercise their human rights. This includes guaranteeing the impartiality and lack of corruption of institutions such as the judiciary and police force, and ensuring that all citizens have equal access to justice and freedom of expression.

Ultimately, the 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices serve as a reminder of the ongoing work needed to promote and safeguard human rights in Ghana and across the globe. By continuing to address issues such as human trafficking, labor rights, and gender-based violence, Ghana can make significant strides towards ensuring that everyone can enjoy their human rights.

Click here for the full 2022 Report (pdf)
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Net Freedom At Stake: China Helping African Government Spy On Their Citizens.

Internet Freedom is currently at stake as China is exporting their digital surveillance methods to African governments to spy on its citizens.

The internet is growing less free around the world, and democracy itself is withering under its influence.

The China-Africa (SinoAfrica) relationship is seeing new light in the area of monitoring and spying. China isn’t content to simply spy on its own population. It’s helping other nations spy on their citizens, too.

In October 2018, U.S-based think tank Freedom House published a report detailing the state of internet freedom around the globe. According to the report, 26 of the 65 countries assessed experienced a decline in internet freedom between June 2017 and May 2018. It points out that China is a major player in this decline — particularly in many democracy-challenged African nations.

Democracies are struggling in the digital age, while China is exporting its model of censorship and surveillance to control information both inside and outside its borders,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, President of Freedom House.

A Close Eye

China’s control over its citizens’ online activity is well documented. The nation employs tens of thousands of internet monitors, bans citizens from using certain words online, and blocks some websites completely.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has even predicted we’re headed for a future with two Internets: the one we know now and a more heavily censored one controlled by China.

According to the Freedom House report, China is all too happy to share its censorship tricks with allies in Africa.

Over the time period studied, representatives from 36 of the 65 assessed countries attended Chinese official-hosted training sessions or seminars focused on media censorship and surveillance.

Though the authors couldn’t say for sure what happens during those meetings, more than one African nation introduced media laws resembling China’s shortly after attending. Chinese companies also provided governments in 18 of the assessed countries, including Zimbabwe, with surveillance tech.

Unfazed Reportage

Apparently, China isn’t fazed by the report. At a press conference on Thursday, a spokesperson for the nation’s Foreign Ministry called its findings “sheer fabrications,” adding that “they are unprofessional, irresponsible, and made with ulterior motives.”

If that’s what Chinese officials are telling the press, you can be sure it’s the same story Chinese citizens will find online — and maybe citizens in African nations now, too.

READ MORE: China Is Exporting Its Digital Surveillance Methods to African Governments [Quartz]

Download the Freedom House Report here [PDF link].

Brahima Sanou, Director, ITU/BDT

ITU Reveals Annual Measuring the Information Society 2017 Report

ITU reveals the latest global ICT Development Index country ranking with the release of Measuring the Information Society 2017 Report

The 9th edition of ITU’s flagship annual Measuring the Information Society Report has been released today.

The Measuring the Information Society Report is widely recognized as the repository of the world’s most reliable and impartial global data and analysis on the state of global ICT development. It is extensively relied upon by governments, international organizations, development banks, and private sector analysts and investors worldwide.

This year’s report finds that concurrent advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will enable tremendous innovations and fundamentally transform business, government, and society.

This revolution will unfold over the coming decades with enormous opportunities, challenges, and implications. To harness these benefits, countries will need to create conditions that support the deployment of next-generation networks and service infrastructures. In order to track the growth and impact of these emerging ICT trends, new global indicators will need to be put in place.

This year’s report shows that ICTs have the potential to make the world a better place and contribute immensely to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

However, despite the overall progress achieved, the digital divide remains a challenge which needs to be addressed. This is important because information and communication technology and the digital economy have the potential to transform the lives of billions of men, women, and children. The digital revolution can transform nations — entire continents.”

It is my hope that this report will be of great value to the ITU membership, particularly for policy-makers, the ICT industry and others working towards the building of an inclusive global information society”, said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which produces the report each year.

Fully harnessing the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution requires efficient and affordable physical infrastructures and services, more advanced user skills, and internationally comparable benchmarks and indicators to support enabling public policies.

The ITU ICT Development Index (IDI) featured in the MIS report is a unique benchmark of the level of ICT development in countries across the world. In 2017, Iceland tops the IDI rankings.

It is followed by and two countries and one economy in the Asia and the Pacific region, and six other countries in Europe which have competitive ICT markets that have experienced high levels of ICT investment and innovation over many years.

The ICT Development Index has up to now been based on 11 indicators. However, recent developments in ICT markets have led to the review of those indicators. As a result of that review, in 2018 the index will be defined by 14 indicators that should add further insights into the performance of individual countries and the relative performance of countries at different development levels.

Measuring ICT Development

The latest data on ICT development show continued progress in connectivity and use of ICTs. There has been sustained growth in the availability of communications in the past decade, led by growth in mobile cellular telephony and, more recently, in mobile-broadband.

Growth in fixed and mobile-broadband infrastructure has stimulated Internet access and use. The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide now exceeds 50 per 100 population, enabling improved access to the Internet and online services.

In spite of the rapid expansion of ICTs, there are substantial digital divides between countries and regions. However, there has been registered progress in ICT growth by the Least Developed Countries, in terms of connectivity as well as the use of the Internet.

Globally, more than half of households worldwide now have access to the Internet, though the rate of growth appears to have fallen below 5 percent a year. There has also been significant progress in terms of bridging the gender digital divide across the regions.

Download the report here (pdf link) for more.

Image Credit: ITU Flickr

English: Headmistress and primary school stude...

The Price of Education in Ghana and the Sad End of Kwadwo Njorfuni

English: Headmistress and primary school stude...

 
The 2011 Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Best Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni takes us on a journey to reveal the challenges most rural children in Banda, a town in the Krachi Nchumuru District of the Volta Region face as they hope to acquire Education – a fundamental human right according to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The video below takes us through the life of one of such children, 11-year old Kwadwo Njorfuni in Banda who died eventually from the collapse of their school building in Banda.
 

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Source: Myjoyonline

 
 
 

 

 

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Ghana & 35 African Nations Signs New ITRs Act

Reports from far and near indicates that, 89 countries including Ghana and a couple of other African countries has signed the final Acts of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) of the World Conference of International Telecommunications which took place in Dubai, UAE from December 3 – 14, 2012.
The new ITU Act allows governments to regulate the Internet – that is governments now have control over the Internet (they decide on information their citizens can access and cannot access).
Earlier in June, 2012 the United Nations has ruled that Internet access and Online freedom of Expression are basic human right that should be guaranteed and protected by every nation.
In this regards, am I wrong to ask what’s the need for Ghana and these other African countries to sign this Act when Kenya, Malawi, USA, Canada and almost all of the EU States never signed this treaty?
Ghana’s Minister of Communication – Mr. Haruna Iddrisu led the delegation that represented the country at the WCIT. According to reports:

      In signing the final Acts, the delegation of Ghana led by the Minister of Communications also deposited a Declaration reserving the right of the Government of Ghana to take any action in conformity with its constitution, the laws and international commitments it may consider necessary or useful for purposes of protecting and safeguarding its national rights and interests.

Before this news came out, many people who’ve been following the discussions at the WCIT kept asking which countries/nations signed and which didn’t. The ITU came out with the official list of signatures below:

In all, 36 African countries including Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Only 3 African countries (Gambia, Kenya and Malawi) that attended the WCIT out of 39 never signed the new Act. Do you have any ideas why they (Gambia, Kenya and Malawi) stood out and never signed this treaty?
Kenya as an innovation and technology focused nation with an internet penetration rate of 28% is aiming to achieve 100% internet penetration by 2017. Ghana’s internet penetration is below 12%, yet we are following the masses and signing every treaty that is put before us.
How does the future looks for a young mobile apps developer working from Accra, Lagos or Nairobi?
Why wasn’t the private sector (Facebook, Google) which drives all this involved in this new Treaty?

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Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary - General, ITU

WCIT Conference in Dubai Threatens Internet Freedom

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary - General, ITU
The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) – a 12-day conference that began on December 3 and run till December 14, 2012 in Dubai, UAE – brought together Internet policy makers (government regulators from 193 countries) and the broader Internet community to reviewing the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), adopted in Melbourne in 1988.
Since the regulation was adopted, developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and Asia have seen dramatic changes in technology and the manner in which countries and individuals utilize the Internet and telecommunications in general.
Question: Should we worry that the World Conference on International Telecommunications is taking over the Internet?
Everyone’s answer will be a big YES but the Secretary General of the ITU in his speech at the WCIT 2012 rebuff claims been made by the media of the Internet take-over.
According to Dr. Hamadoun Touré – Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the WCIT is about, “the free flow of information” and “continuing to promote a harmonious and conducive international environment that drives innovation” and “accelerating the rapid deployment of broadband to ensure that many more of the unconnected are given a voice online.”
Instead of focusing on the negative always, Dr. Toure asked the media and all parties concerned on Internet issues to focus on what the ITU really is about which is:
“It is about accelerating the rapid deployment of broadband to ensure that many more of the unconnected are given a voice online and that the transformative power of broadband is accessible to all the world’s people.

This is very much in line with ITU’s day-to-day activities which are already fundamental to promoting Internet growth.
These include:

Standards for end-user access equipment such as modems, including xDSL and cable modems;
Compression standards;
Security standards, including standards to combat spam;
Standards for backbone networks, including fibre optics;
And, of course, the radio frequencies used to implement WiFi – which you are no doubt using as I speak.”
What was at stake the WCIT 2012?
At every conference or gathering involving government officials, there is always something at stake. In the case of the WCIT 2012, it’s a simple case which looks to connect the International Telecommunications Regulations which was written in 1988 and today’s Internet.
Read Full Speech of Hamadoun Tour̩ РSecretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in September 2012 on WCIT-12 РMyths and Reality.
Photo-credit: itupictures

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President Obama United Behind the Free Flow of Information

Across his Administration, President Obama has taken bold steps advancing a digital environment that rewards innovation and empowers individuals the world over.
These ideas, and the policies that support them, are cornerstones of America’s economy. But the benefits from this approach extend well beyond the United States; they are equally important to the social and economic wellbeing of Internet users across the globe. This is why the United States is strongly represented at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) treaty conference in Dubai this month, where over 100 delegates from the public sector, private sector, and civil society are joining with our international partners to ensure the future of global, interoperable telecommunications networks.
Several White House officials were on hand for the Conference’s opening days, where the hosts in the United Arab Emirates welcomed delegates and took some positive steps to address concerns the Conference be accessible to those outside its halls. As a crossroads in the interconnected global economy, Dubai is a natural venue to bring together the diversity of voices and views at the WCIT. Read more here….
Source: The White House Blog
 

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Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Human Rights Day

On Human Rights Day, we celebrate a simple but powerful declaration that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Adopted 64 years ago today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stands as a monument to the courage of its founders and to freedoms longed for by every human being.
But the fight for these freedoms—from demagogues and from tyrants, from the shackles of slavery and from the censor’s pen—did not end with the historic adoption of the Universal Declaration on December 10, 1948. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, success in the struggle “is a question of actually living and working in our countries for freedom and justice for each human being.”
Today, we pledge to live up to Eleanor Roosevelt’s inspirational example, for in far too many places human freedoms are still denied. As long as a family anywhere is tormented by a state-sanctioned killer; a peaceful agitator is hounded by a violent brigade; an artist is locked away for expressing what she thinks; an LGBT individual is harassed because of whom he or she loves; a community is beleaguered because of how it worships; a person with a disability is marginalized by those who ignore plain injustice; or a girl is threatened for having the audacity to pick up a book; all of our rights have been violated.
The United States is relentless in pursuit of a world that protects these rights. We fight for them at the United Nations, where we have made important strides, because we know that American leadership in the world can bring action against oppressors and hope to the oppressed. Our job is not done and the path ahead is fraught.
But may we work together every day for the cause of human rights, so that our efforts can forge a world that respects our differences, protects our dignity, gives our children opportunities to pursue their dreams, and ensures that freedoms we have pledged to protect are universally enjoyed.
Credit: United States Mission To The United Nations

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Take Action: Add Your Voice to Keep the Internet #freeandopen


The Internet has connected more than two billion people around the world. Some governments want to use a closed-door meeting in December to increase censorship and regulate the web. It is ours and it is free – a free and open world depends on a free and open web and a free and open web depends on you and I.
Governments alone should not determine the future of the Internet. Some governments officials want to increase censorship and regulate the web/Internet.

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Tell them to keep it FREE and OPEN #FreeAndOpen by signing the petition: http://goo.gl/lyAoE

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