Akanjolenur Joseph Whittal (left), CHRAJ Commissioner, receiving a medal from Riccardo Guariglia (right), Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy
Akanjolenur Joseph Whittal (left), CHRAJ Commissioner, receiving a medal from Riccardo Guariglia (right), Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy

CHRAJ, Commissioner honoured

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and its commissioner, Akanjolenur Joseph Whittal, have been recognised for their “outstanding contributions” to the protection and promotion of human rights in Ghana and Africa.

The honour was conferred by an Italian organisation, De Sanctis Foundation, at its 2023 Human Rights Prize award.

For his prize,  Mr Whittal was presented with a medal, at an event which marked the second anniversary of the awards.

The awards ceremony, which took place at the Palace of Justice in Rome, Italy, attracted the First President of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Margherita Cassano, and the President of the De Sanctis Foundation, Francesco De Sanctis, and the President of the De Sanctis Award, Gianni Letta.


The De Sanctis Foundation awards authoritative figures who have distinguished themselves in defending human rights.

Two other recognitions went to the authors of a book I Diritti dell’Uomo (Human Rights), Louis Henkin with an introduction by Giuliano Amato (Treccani, 2023) while the award to an association went to Rondine Cittadella della Pace (World House of Rondine), founded and chaired by Franco Vaccari.


A 21-member jury chaired by President Emeritus of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, Pietro Curzio, justifying the decision to select CHRAJ before handing over the medal to the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Whittal, said the award was in recognition of the Commission's extensive responsibilities and its tangible impact, especially in a country considered a model for human rights protection not only in Africa but also globally.

Ghana, the jury said, stood out for its guarantee of religious freedom and peaceful coexistence between the Christian majority and the Muslim minority.


Speaking to the Daily Graphic about the award, Mr Whittal said CHRAJ had recently assumed the chair of the network of African institutions and “we have a recognition from outside the award from Italy means that our leadership is not only recognised on the continent but outside the continent too.

That means a lot to us. ”

 He dedicated the award to all the key partners and stakeholders, including civil society organisations who have worked closely with the commission in the area of human rights promotion and protection and fighting corruption.

“Within the 30 years existence of the commission, we have done quite a number of groundbreaking achievements such as targeting specific human right issues affecting some vulnerable groups which have been criminalised and pushed to the background,” he said.

Some of the negative cultural practices that have been criminalised through the effort of the Commission include Trokose, female genital mutilation (FGM) and witchcraft accusations. 

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