1. Folks the US State Department has released its latest Human Rights Report for Ghana and the contents of the report are pretty troubling.
2. We have heard some so called security experts like Dr.Kwesi Anning, dismissing the said report and calling for it to be treated with contempt by Ghanaians.
3. We do not find those comments as only distasteful, disingenuous but also a reckless disregard for the image of the Republic of Ghana among its resultant consequences and we want to use this opportunity to clarify that.
4. First of this is not a report by some Independent Civil Society Organization or entity with skewed interest in Ghana, neither is it a report by any of the opposition Political Parties seeking to unseat the current Government, No!
This is report by the United States State Department, made up of mainly reports sent home by the United States Embassy here in Ghana, sent to the US State Department and reported to the US Congress.
5. Secondly, as far as issues of human rights are concerned, the US’s (the self appointed global headmaster on human rights) report is the locus classicus of human rights reports in the World.
Most foreign missions and International Agencies feed from the US human rights report as this report catalogues the human rights performance of over 120 Countries annually.
6. Apart from the Diplomatic Missions, International Agencies and entities such as the IMF, Worldbank, European Central Bank, the United Nations etc all feed from the US human rights report to assess the human rights credentials of Countries and that form the basis of their Policy directions for the Country.
7. Apart from that, the global Capital Markets are one of the key entities that depends so much on the human rights credentials of Countries to determine who they give money to or not because their first consideration in lending out money is whether there is rule of law, civil order and Political stability to ensure the repayment of long term loans and they all feed directly from the US State Department Human Rights Report.
You see why Ghana is unable to currently raise money from the Capital Markets forcing the Government to implement the obnoxious regressive e-levy, it is not only because of the poor financial standing of the Country but also because of such Diplomatic Assessments on Human Rights and Rule of Law that creates even much more uncertainties for a Country rather than the gloomy economic data presented to the Capital Markets.
8. Then the investor community around the World who depends so much on this report, before investors would put their money in any Country the first thing they look at is the Judiciary, is the Justice system fair and functioning?
If a dispute arises, would I be able to procure Justice from the local Courts?
If there’s any slight indication that the Judiciary is not fair or impartial or under some form of Political interference, investors would look else where, put their money where they are sure would be protected by the system.
So let’s take a critical look at FDI inflows for the last few years,we have moved from an annual inflow of about $7billion to about $2.5billion as at 2020 and the 2021-2022 projections seems to much less.
It tells you investors are increasingly shying away from Ghana and that is not something anybody in their right sense can tell us to ignore.
9. Apart from investors Ghana has been hit also by donor migrations, most donors who are funding various projects in Ghana from Civil Society Organization led projects to Government led projects have redirected their attention and funding elsewhere saying Ghana is not their priority now.
A lot of programs run by Civil Society and Government Agencies have totally grounded to a halt due to donor migrations since 2020 and if this is not addressed urgently could make our efforts towards economic recovery post-Covid really really difficult.
*What Needs to be Done??*
What we need to do in the interim is to call for a National Introspection on our Human Rights Credentials, have a public stakeholder dialogue on some the issues raised by the report and come up a strategy to wither down the effects of such reports by offering the highest form assurance to our development patners and the global community that we understand Ghana’s human rights credentials have sunk deep but there’s no cause for alarm, we have taken notice of the issues raised and we are making frantic efforts to resolving them such that the next report would discover a significant improvement in the human rights and rule of situation in Ghana.
This assurance would do us a lot of good than the seemingly baseless dismissals by Government, Government Agents and their Assigns and so called Security Experts who have made a rather disappointing showing since this report broke.
Executive Director, ASEPA
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