The Minister of the Interior, Hon. Ambrose Dery (MP), has expressed the commitment of the Government of Ghana to ensuring that drug laws and policies are consistent with its obligations under the International Human Rights Treaties that Ghana has ratified or acceded to. The Minister made the statement when he addressed the first National Dialogue on the implementation of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy in Africa and the 2nd at the global level which is being held from 12th to 13th December, 2022 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Hon. Dery informed participants that as part of efforts by the Government to empower mandated State Institutions to perform effectively, the Narcotics Control Commission Act was passed by Parliament in 2020 essentially to transform the erstwhile Narcotics Control Board with limited functions into the Independent Narcotics Control Commission with an expanded mandate and law enforcement powers. He added that Ghana is in the process of developing a National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), which is expected to be completed between 2022 – 2026.

The National Dialogue which is being hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in collaboration with stakeholders such as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, Law Enforcement Agencies, the Judiciary, Civil Societies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and International Organisations, aims at creating an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss how to align National Drug Laws and Policy with the International Human Rights law and Standards which was launched in 2019.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Thomas Mbomba (MP), on his part, expressed the hope that the deliberations would yield a concerted, multi-disciplinary, and evidence-based approach to dealing with the drug menace in the country.  He added that the two-day national dialogue would not only create awareness of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy but would also come out with relevant recommendations which would serve the interest of Ghana and ensure further improvements in the country’s Drug Policy.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Charles Abani, expressed gratitude to the Government of Ghana for hosting the first-ever National Dialogue on the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy in Africa. He also urged countries to pursue a holistic approach that unites health, criminal justice and social services, and respects and protects human rights in accordance with International Drug Control Framework.

The former Executive Secretary of the erstwhile Narcotics Control Board, Mr. Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, in his Keynote Speech noted that the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policies offer valuable guidance on how to strengthen national reforms which commenced in 2020. He added that the guidelines would help push forward the full realisation of the health and human rights of Ghanaian communities.