Amnesty International Ghana (AIG), is advocating clear guidelines for evictions to conform to international law in the country.
According to the AIG, the guidelines had become more urgent and important due to the spate of evictions that had occurred in the country recently following the devastating effect of the June 3, 2015 flood.
Its position was made yesterday at a roundtable discussion to explore avenues to petition the government and other stakeholders on the need for the country to adopt clear guidelines for evictions to conform to international law.
Giving an overview of the AIG’s campaign on slums and informal settlements, the Director of the AIG, Mr Lawrence Amesu, indicated that evictions and demolition exercises had brought economic hardship to an already vulnerable group.
According to him, if Ghana had the guideline in place prior to the eviction, the negative impact on the victims would have been minimal.
“Ghana must avoid fire-fighting solutions to addressing slum issues in the city,” he said.
He stated that residents in slums and informal settlements lacked minimum degrees of security of tenure which was one of the main causes of the multiple and widespread human rights violations that they experienced.
Aside the guidelines on evictions, the AIG and participants at the forum also discussed the need for the country to ratify the Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Economic, social and cultural rights embody essential elements for a life of dignity, security and freedom.
It includes the right to work, health, education, food, water, sanitation, housing, social security, healthy environment and culture.
All states which are parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights are obligated under international law to ensure these rights are enjoyed by all without discrimination.
For this reason, the Community Liaison Officer of People’s Dialogue, Mr Kojo Anane Frimpong, urged the government to ratify the Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural rights as a matter of urgency.
By ratifying the protocol, he said Ghana would join 13 states that had already ratified the protocol in showing leadership to make economic, social and cultural rights a reality.
He said the ratification would demonstrate Ghana’s commitment to protecting all human rights and eradicating poverty.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Collins Dauda, said the government was implementing the social housing scheme in Tamale.
He added that interventions were being put in place to ensure that inclusive and integrative human settlements were created in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).