The United Nations (UN) Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) visited Ghana on Tuesday 28th May 2019, to ascertain the measures put in place by the country to prevent torture.
At the opening meeting for the delegation from the SPT and stakeholders from Ghana, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Charles Owiredu, said he was glad the Subcommittee had visited Ghana to verify the steps which had been taken to prevent torture from being committed, as well as ensure that places of deprivation of liberty and similar settings were livable and conditions were humane.
He also recalled that “Ghana ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act (OPCAT) in 2016”.
Hon. Owiredu stated that Ghana was yet to establish a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM). He disclosed that the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) had indicated its readiness to act as the NPM after the necessary constitutional hurdles had been cleared.
He also pointed out that whiles working on the establishment of the NPM, Ghana would welcome technical assistance for the implementation of the OPCAT, through the Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme of the Capacity Building and Harmonization Section of the Human Rights Council and the Treaty Mechanism Division of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Chairperson of the SPT and Leader of the delegation Mr. Malcolm Evans, in his address said the delegation was glad to be in Ghana to ascertain the measures which had been put in place to prevent torture, the current state of the anti-torture legislation and plans for the NPM.
Mr. Malcolm indicated that other issues of interest to the SPT were aspects of the criminal justice system and the problem of overcrowding within the prison system in the country. He also noted that issues of pensions in relation to healthcare, mental healthcare and other issues aligned to it were also of concern to the delegation. He commended Ghana for ratifying the OPCAT and urged that more efforts should be made to prevent cases of torture.