The Tamale Chief, Naa Dakpema Mohammed Alhassan Dawuni, has condemned the consistent banishing of women accused of witchcraft across the Northern Region.
He has thus instructed all his sub chiefs to ban such inhumane practices in their communities.
“My palace has never maltreated any woman accused of witchcraft and I entreat other chiefs to treat issues of witchcraft accusations and other gender based violence with respect and dignity.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”jJ4Pb0H8UDxlCnJmdGrSyGYcD9vcst8d”]Naa-Dakpema Mohammed Alhassan Dawuni was speaking on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day Celebration in Tamale under the auspices of Songtaba, a Non Governmental Organization.
“It is time for chiefs to lead the call for action that promotes the rule of law and the protection of women and girls: I therefore deem it right to call on other chiefs, zaachies (youth chiefs) to protect their human rights so that they can live a life of dignity.”
The Tamale Chief reaffirmed his commitment to collaborate with Songtaba and the Northern Regional Reintegration Committee of alleged witches to protect the rights of those already ostracized and camped at isolated localities.
Programmes Coordinator of Songtaba, Hajia Lamnatu Adam, said aged women in various parts of the region continued to suffer from all forms of human right abuses.
“Witchcraft accusation and the belief in it has caused especially women and for that matter the aged to suffer dehumanizing human right violations due to the treatment they are given which sometimes include physical, public ridicule and other psychological abuses and that of economical and denial of resources.”
Hajia Lamnatu Adam called for a paradigm shift to completely disband “witches camps” scattered in the Northern Region and reintegrate the inmates.
“Although Ghana is a signatory to many international legal agreements and declarations, it is quite embarrassing that we are still keeping women who are barely old and frail to waste their productive years and wisdom far away from home and without any family love and protection.”
“We need to reflect on the consequences that come with witchcraft accusations and accept the possibilities that their reintegration into the communities as well as seeking other options to end the inflow of women into the camps, are the surest ways to ending their human rights violation especially their security and their rights to be treated with humanity and respect.”
She lamented, “A quick sample will reveal that over 90% of these women banished into the camps are beyond 60 years and majority of this number have spent over a decade or two of their productive life in the camps when they could have contributed productively to build our dear region and nation.”
President of the Alleged Witches’ Network, Tachira Muntaru, narrated their ordeal at the various camps and added her voice to incessant calls for their reintegration into society.
According to her, majority of the victims were banished based on unsubstantiated allegations of witchcraft.
She commended the Tamale Chief for his passion for the promotion of women’s’ rights and urged other traditional rulers to emulate his leadership style.
Tachira Muntaru also thanked Songtaba and its allied bodies for alleviating their plight.
Northern Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Lawyer Stephen Azantilo, cautioned the citizenry against the violation of women’s rights under the pretext of witchcraft.
He said every Ghanaian citizen deserved the right to live without socio-cultural barriers inhibiting their wellbeing.
Lawyer Azantilo implored chiefs to place premium on human rights advocacy.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/Citifmonline.com/Ghana