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Ghana is one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa. In 2016, president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was elected in elections reported by national and international observers as transparent, inclusive, credible, free and fair. In general, Ghana has taken both legislative and implementation steps in promoting and protecting human rights. One of these steps is the implementation of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). This national human rights body independently receives cases brought by individuals against government agencies or private companies. Human rights defenders generally operate without government restriction or intrusions. The government actively engage civil society on certain legislation and policies.

Nevertheless, HRDs championing particular rights face risks because of their work. This is the case of those working on anti-corruption. In May 2019, the President signed into law the Right to Information Bill that allows citizens access to information from all public and some private institutions. The law seeks to improve governmental accountability and transparency but officials frequently engage in corrupt practices with impunity and HRDs attempting to investigate these cases face risks. In January 2019, a journalist who exposed corruption in African football was shot dead in Accra. Several laws include provisions prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting but, although rarely performed on adult women, the practice remained a serious problem for girls younger than 18 years, especially in the Upper East region. Women human rights defenders face particular risk in conservatives regions where the legitimacy of their work is not recognised.

HRDs working on LGBTI+ rights face widespread discrimination and lack secure spaces in which to meet and carry out their work. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The law criminalizes same-sex male relationships defined as “unnatural carnal knowledge”. Public figures have made remarks likely to incite violence against LGBTI+ people. The stigma and intimidation, coupled with the attitude of the police towards the LGBTI+ community often dissuades victims from reporting incidents of abuse and increase the risk for HRDs working on LGBTI+ rights.

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