There has not been an execution carried out in Ghana since 1993, however, as of December 2011, there were 138 people on death row in Ghana. Judges across the country continue to impose death sentences everyday, which is a violation of human rights as proclaimed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to life is a fundamental human right and no one has the right to take another’s life under any circumstances. HRAC is a member of the Abolition of the Death Penalty Coalition whose goal is to pressure the Ghanaian government to have the death penalty removed from the constitution.
HRAC is one of several organisations that forms the Right to Information coalition that is advocating for the amendment and passage of the right to information (RTI) bill. Currently, Ghanaian citizens are unable to obtain information on the government’s spending of public monies. Without access to such vital information, there is little accountability for the government, which allows for corruption to flourish. The passage of the right to information bill will provide the transparency needed for a democratic government to prosper.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding people with mental health issues. A lack of knowledge on mental illness, as well as stigma in the community has led to several individuals suffering from mental health issues being subjected to human rights violations. Currently, there are only 12 practising psychiatrists working in Ghana, all based in the south, and three psychiatric hospitals. These hospitals are inadequate, with patients often being held against their will, living in overcrowded living spaces in unsanitary conditions. The lack of resources for people living with mental illnesses has meant that people have looked for alternative “treatments”. Often, people with mental health issues are sent to prayer camps that are meant to cure people with mental illness. However, the lack of knowledge on adequate treatments has meant that mental illness people are chained to trees, forced to fast, denied access to medications in an effort to “heal” these individuals. There is a need for legislation that will protect the rights of the mentally ill population. In addition, there needs to be more resources available, including hospitals/clinics, psychiatrists and nurses, that will help those individuals living with mental health issues, as well as their families cope.