Spotlight on Service - Christina Welsh - Ghana
Background on HRAC:
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) is a not-for-profit, independent, non-partisan, research and advocacy organization set up to advance and protect human rights in Ghana. Established in 2008, the mandate of the HRAC is to deal with these issues by providing free legal assistance to needy individuals, communities, vulnerable groups, Most-Risk-Populations and institutions. Within the human rights field, the work of HRAC primarily focuses on three main areas; research, advocacy and the provision of free legal aid services. Specifically, the HRAC conducts human rights advocacy and research; protects and promotes women and children’s rights; promotes and advocates reproductive health rights; initiates and supports public interest litigation; protects the rights persons living with HIV/AIDS; monitors and advocates for democratic policing; conducts prison advocacy to protect the rights of prisoners; monitors and evaluates compliance with international human rights standards and works to educate and create awareness on human rights.
My Work At HRAC:
My work at HRAC has been primarily research. I have been working on HRAC's partnership with UNAIDS. This has included creating an abridged version and short highlight of HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: A Legislative Audit. The audit, funded by UNAIDS, reviews laws regulating and protecting the rights of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV), Most at Risk Populations (MARPs), and other vulnerable populations in Ghana, and assesses the extent to which the existing legal and normative framework adequately protects rights. The purpose of the Legislative Audit was to identify lacunae between international obligations and national practice. The Audit includes legal and policy provisions relating to HIV/AIDS issues (Part I) and the responses of national institutions mandated to protect human rights (Part II). In relation to the audit, I have completed monthly media reports that seek to identify the trends of human rights and law-related issues in the context of HIV in Ghana and the actions undertaken to address them. This involves identifying articles from 8 different media sources, summarizing each article, and providing an analysis. The UNAIDS project has also includes creating fact sheets for men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSW), and PLHIV, for these vulnerable groups to know their rights, and facilitating meeting to address these groups. My favorite part of working at HRAC has been attending conferences, where I have to write a short report after. I have attended "World AIDS Day", "International Day of Democracy", and an HIV Legislation Review Meeting. My time at HRAC has exposed me to the world of NGOs, taskforces, projects and their fight to affect society.