The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Ghana

By Vexen Crabtree 2022

#antisemitism #christianity #Ghana #ghana_antisemitism #islam #religion_in_Ghana

Republic of Ghana

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index108th best
Land Area 227 540km21
Life Expectancy63.80yrs (2017)3
GNI$5 745 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesGH, GHA, 2885
Internet Domain.gh6
CurrencyCedi (GHC)7

Ghana is generally poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world. Ghana comes in the best 20 for its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice9 (amongst the best in Africa). It does better than average for supporting press freedom10 (one of the lowest in Africa), supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms11 (one of the best in Africa) and in its nominal commitment to Human Rights12. Civil society organizations are mostly doing well. Ghana still has work to do. Ghana does worse than average in speed of uptake of HR treaties13, freethought14, opposing gender inequality15 and in LGBT equality16 - LGBT+ defenders "are frequently harassed and intimidated"17. And finally, it falls into the worst 20 in terms of the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators)18. Homosexuality is illegal, and even in 2021, new and harsher legal measures were going through government, including imprisonment of ten years for promoting LGBT tolerance17, coming after a push by a coalition of conservative Christian and Islamic organisations.

1. Ghana's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #gender_equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Compared to Africa (2020)19
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank19
1S. Africa56.1
6Cape Verde75.0
7Burkina Faso76.1
10S. Sudan90.5
Africa Avg108.2
Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)19
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank19
94St Vincent & Grenadines89.2
96S. Sudan90.5
World Avg87.9

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark20. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu20.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe20, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia20.

For more, see:

Amnesty International's 2023-23 summary on human rights in Ghana stated:

There were several violations of the right to freedom of expression and police use of excessive force. Forced evictions continued. Two bills to abolish the death penalty were introduced to parliament. A bill further criminalizing LGBTI people remained pending. Women continued to experience discrimination. Child labour was reported.

"The State of the World's Human Rights 2022/23" by Amnesty International (2023)21

2. Human Rights & Tolerance

2.1. Nominal Commitment to HR


Nominal Commitment to HR
Higher is better12
2=Costa Rica23
Africa Avg14.8
World Avg15.1
Ghana is 84th in the world regarding its nominal commitment to Human Rights.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.2. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag
Lower is better13
Avg Yrs/Treaty13
Africa Avg9.88
World Avg10.02
Ghana ranks 102nd in the world in terms of speed of uptake of HR treaties.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

For more, see:

2.3. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom
Lower is better11
1Hong Kong1
3New Zealand3
58El Salvador58
63Dominican Rep.63
Africa Avg114.2
World Avg79.7
(one of the best in Africa)In terms of supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, Ghana comes 59th in the world.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)22

2.4. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #Freedom_of_Speech #Good_Governance #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom
Lower is better10
Africa Avg3511
World Avg3249
(amongst the best in Africa)Ghana is 30th in the world regarding supporting press freedom.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index23

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

2.5. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Lower is better
% Victims24
92Burkina Faso0.45
98Sierra Leone0.50
Africa Avg0.96
World Avg0.65
In terms of eliminating modern slavery, Ghana comes 95th in the world.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory25. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends26. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life27. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves28.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery29. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity30. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.31. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi32, Eritrea32, Indonesia33) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery34.

For more, see:

Ghana has an issue with child labour in its cocoa industry, with children working too many hours in difficult conditions. This extends as far as having many children being counted as being in forced-labour conditions that equate to modern slavery35.

3. Gender Equality

The 1950s saw a late rush of 43 countries, including Ghana and many developing nations, move to cease preventing women from voting. Ghana is an unequal country, with male rights dominating those of women.


3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality
Lower is better
Africa Avg0.54
World Avg0.36
When it comes to opposing gender inequality, Ghana ranks 131st in the world.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchalism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

For more, see:

3.2. Gender Biases

#gender #gender_equality #prejudice #women

Gender Biases
Lower is better
2New Zealand34.437
77Myanmar (Burma)99.437
Africa Avg98.10
World Avg83.93
Ghana is positioned 15th-worst in the world regarding the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators).

The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) looks at gender biases across seven criteria; the % given here is for the total people who are biased across any of those criteria. By subtracting the value from 100%, you can see that those who do well on this index, you are seeing a count of those who do not appear to be biased against women in any of the criteria, and so, doing well on this index is a very positive sign for any country.

The data was included in UN (2022) with full results in Annex table AS6.7.1; their data stems for ranges between 2005 and 2022, depending on the country in question.

3.3. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Lower is better
1New Zealand1893
Africa Avg1961
World Avg1930
Ghana comes 99th in the world with regard to the year from which women could participate in democracy.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

For more, see:

4. Prejudice

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions
Lower is better
13=New Zealand14
Africa Avg45.9
World Avg36.8
(one of the best in Africa)With regard to its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, Ghana comes 16th-best in the world.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews38,39,40,41. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East42, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews43,44. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"45. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males46.

For more, see:

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #ICCPR #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Homosexuality is illegal under Section 104 of the Criminal Code legislation of 1960 and societal prejudice and harassment is far too common. In 2021 new and harsher legal measures were going through government as the "Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill", which includes imprisonment of ten years for promoting LGBT equality. Religious leaders are particularly aggressive towards LGBT folk.17

LGBT Equality
Higher is better
169St Kitts & Nevis-25
Africa Avg-10.4
World Avg12.6
In terms of LGBT equality, Ghana comes 169th in the world.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence47. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws48. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries47. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

For more, see:

Ghana's horrendous proposed 2021 law against homosexuality is described by the UN as being state-sponsored discrimination and a clear breach of human rights law; it was produced and supported by a coalition of Christian and Muslim organisations.17 after continued campaigns by religious bodies against LGBT tolerance across Africa. Some examples from Ghana:

In 2020, opposition MP Dr. Hanna Luisa Bissiw, stated that "homosexuality is a disease" and suggested LGBTI+ people should be euthanized; and an Imam described homosexuality as an "evil that must not be countenanced in any way because it is despised by God". In 2018, Head Pastor of Osu Church of Christ, Kofi Tawiah stated "homosexuality is considered as a capital offence which is abominable and is accompanied by capital punishment."

Ghana´s first LGBTI+ community support center and safe house opened in January 2021, but was forced to close 3 months later after being illegally raided by the police and facing pressure from religious lobby groups, the Catholic Church of Ghana, and members of the government.

"The Freedom of Thought Report" by Humanists International (2021)17

Things took a dark turn in 2019, after the World Congress of Families, a U.S.-based Christian group, organized a conference in Ghana. The group's goal was to push harsh criminal punishments for LGBTQ behavior, as it succeeded in doing in Uganda and Nigeria several years ago. "They confidently said they were going to do the same thing in Ghana" said Alex Donkor, the executive director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, an advocacy group, who was at the conference.

"Ghana´s tragic turn toward anti-LGBT extremism" by Karen Attiah (2022)49

4.3. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freedom_of_belief #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought
Lower is better
128=St Lucia3.3
132Solomon Islands3.5
Africa Avg3.1
World Avg3.0
Ghana is positioned 109th in the world when it comes to freethought.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights50. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish51. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era52 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted53. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief54. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands14,55 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia14,56.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed57. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief51, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion58 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"59 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see:

Ghana's Constitution protects "freedom of thought, conscience and belief", protects religious freedom, and prohibits discrimination based on religion.17. However, the State itself causes some indirect discrimination by directly funding and supporting specific Christian and Muslim institutions, and religious leaders are seen to have undue influence on the Government17.

In 2019, a constitutional challenge against the construction of the National Cathedral [on 14 acres of state land next to Parliament] and the setting up of the Hajj board [which pays for Muslims to go on the Hajj pilgrimage] was brought by a local politician, James Bomfeh, who argued that both measures are a violation of the [...] duty of the State to respect equality and uphold religious neutrality.

Bomfeh's case was dismissed by the Supreme Court, who found that the Constitution did not specifically prohibit the Government from "supporting, assisting or cooperating with religious groups."

"The Freedom of Thought Report" by Humanists International (2021)17.