UPR of Ghana: Call for formalisation of the end to the death penalty
Friday, 26 October 2012 17:10


Ghana reported to the working group of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 23 October as part of the UPR’s second cycle. Represented by Mr Ebo Barton Odro, Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice, Ghana expressed its commitment to human rights and outlined the developments that have been made since the first cycle. It also indicated the ongoing challenges it faces in areas of equal rights for women, negative traditional values, and discrimination against those with disabilities, those living with AIDS, and the mentally underdeveloped.

Ghana’s UPR review was held in the shadow of the sudden death of Ghana’s President John Atta Mills on 25 July 2012.  In line with the constitution, Vice-President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in and will serve as caretaker President until fresh elections in December.


Mr Odro highlighted that since the first cycle Ghana has reformed their prison service and made improvements to the welfare of prisoners. The country has also improved access to treatment for people with AIDS and developed community education programmes to combat discrimination against peoples with AIDS. Finally it has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


While no executions have occurred in Ghana since 2003, Ghana faced ongoing pressure to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Representative Mr Odro was quick to highlight that Ghana will have to hold a referendum on the issue in line with their constitution.

Overall States regarded favorably the steps taken by Ghana since the first cycle on the issue of reduction of domestic violence, its response to the AIDS pandemic, its ratification of international conventions, and showed appreciation for the improvements in prison conditions.


Further recommendations made by States during the review:

  • Recommend that Ghana take steps to implement in practice the Domestic Violence Act, and address the issue of gender based violence.
  • Take concrete action on the continued practice of female genital mutilation that is still somewhat excused by the label of ‘traditional values’. Female genital mutilation is prohibited in Ghana but it continues to remain a problem in several parts of the country.
  • Encourage Ghana to make efforts to protect female rights, and address the issue of witch-hunts as women are still banished for being witches.
  • Recommend the abolition of the death penalty or formalise the de facto moratorium on the death penalty.
  • Calls for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships and reduce discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. 


Ghana’s delegation welcomed the feedback given by States and addressed the concerns voiced by stakeholders. Ghana’s democracy and attitude to human rights stands in contrast to the turbulence of the rest of West Africa where violence often reigns supreme.


A total of 76 States participated in the review, making 125 recommendations. Ghana accepted 91, rejected 25, and on 9 took the position that they had already been implemented. Rejecting the recommendation to formally abolish the death penalty, the delegation again repeated its position that this could not happen without a referendum. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:16
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