Constitutional Rights and Their Relationship with International Human Rights in Ghana
A. Kodzo Paaku Kludze
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
January 27, 2009
Israel Law Review, Vol. 41, pp. 677-702, 2008
Hebrew University International Law Research Paper No. 10-09
Particularly in developing nations, the movement has been toward the articulation of elaborate provisions in constitutions which guarantee the basic human and peoples' rights of the citizenry. In many cases these are reflections of the immediate past history of the young nations which were strewn with ugly spectacles of dictatorships on their path to democracy. The history of Ghana is unfortunately an illustrative example. The Ghana Independence Constitution of 1957 - a very brief document - was brief to a fault and bereft of any provision for human rights. It is clear that the experience of years of abuse of human, political, and civil rights in Ghana explains many of the current constitutional guarantees of basic rights spelt out in the 1992 Constitution in order to protect citizens against future abuses.
In the past, treaty obligations under municipal laws of Ghana were such that even ratification of human rights treaties did not directly confer enforceable legal rights in the domestic courts of Ghana and implementing legislation was necessary to make a treaty right justiciable. In the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, as well as others, are entrenched as constitutional provisions, are to be interpreted as such, and enforceable under the laws of Ghana. To the extent that drafters of the Ghana Constitution relied on the principles of the international human rights law enshrined in treaties and declarations, there are many similarities between the domestic law and some principles of international human rights law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: constitution, human rights, developed countries, universal declaration of human rights, African charter on human and peoples' rights, Ghana, international law, domestic law
Date posted: January 29, 2009