Ghana has ratified international instruments that promote respect for and enjoyment of rights of
all persons including women. This includes the right of men and women of full age to marry and
found a family and its subsequent entitlement to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage
and at its dissolution.1 Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR)2 goes further as to place a responsibility on states to take appropriate steps to ensure
equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its
dissolution. Article 16(c) and (h) of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)3 also reiterates this and sets out in clear terms that
states must ensure the same rights for both spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition,
management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, whether free of charge or
for a valuable consideration. At the regional level, Article 7(d) of the Protocol to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Women’s
Protocol)4 also provides that in case of separation or divorce, women and men shall have the
right to an equitable sharing of the joint property deriving from the marriage. Relating the above
provisions to women, it is evident that in addition to the right to marry, women have a right to
own property during marriage, and a right to access and ownership of such property on
separation or divorce and state parties are bound to ensure the protection of this right.
Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Law University of Pretoria, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Masters of Law (LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa). Prepared under the supervision of Mrs. Seojore Biltoo of the Faculty of Law & Management, University of Mautitius, Mautitius. 2010.
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa))--University of Pretoria, 2010.