Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has debunked assertions that the United States’ State Department report on human rights standards in Ghana is meant to ridicule the country.
According to him, far from the assertion, the report is merely a United States constitutional requirement and not borne out of malice.
The latest Country Reports on Human Rights Practices highlight issues including; denial of fair public trial, corruption and lack of transparency in government, arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings.
The others are freedom of expression, including for members of the press and other media and elections and political participation.
Speaking to the issue on JoyNews’ PM Express, Okudzeto Ablakwa said, “It is important for us to put the report in the right perspective. The United States of America is not picking on Ghana alone. The United States of America has been putting out these Country Human Rights report since 1961 when it passed the Foreign Assistance Act and then when it passed the Trade Act of 1974.
“So per their own laws, it is a requirement that countries that you often assist, and countries that sit with you at the United Nations and you work with, you collaborate with, you must carry out these human rights assessment every year.
“The reason why it is important particularly for countries they assist under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is because the citizens of the United States of America want to be sure that particularly when their government says that they are investing in governance institutions, they are seeking to as it were enhance the governance architecture, the rule of law, and all of those values, those ethos that the international community subscribes to, they want to be sure that there is value for money, and that you are not pumping tax payers’ money – hard earned tax payers’ money – and there are no results.”
He stated that Ghana is simply one out of 198 countries that has been assessed in the recent report, thus, notions that the United States picked out Ghana to ridicule is unfounded.
“Once this context is explained, you cannot therefore conclude that the United States is picking on Ghana or probably has some axe to grind with Ghana; it is because their laws allows them to do this and it’s also some peer review mechanism,” he said.
The North Tongu legislator noted that if Ghana also wishes to, it could also write a peer review on human rights issues in America.
He stated that the peer review mechanism is one which has been welcomed over the years as a means of assessing the performance of countries and governments across the world.
“And so I do not want us to at this point play the we vs them, you know, America trying to be a a big boy, wanting to dictate to us, wanting to tell us how to go about our work,” he said.
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