Traditional rulers in the Northern Region have been asked to join forces with Non-Governmental Organizations to protect the human rights of ostracized women accused of witchcraft and camped in isolated places scattered across the region.
The Executive Director of women and child rights advocacy, Songtaba, Hajia Lamnatu Adam, made the call at a day’s meeting with members of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs.
[contextly_sidebar id=”xH0ZL0A6BP3SeqfVIggNMUxQTohxRvgW”]Songtaba in collaboration with Plan International Ghana, organized the meeting funded by STAR-Ghana, the European Union, DANIDA and the UKaid.
According to her, the meeting sought to push bye-laws required to protect the human rights of ostracized women branded as alleged witches.
With emphasis on queen mothers, Hajia Lamnatu Adam pleaded with the traditional rulers to kick against stigmatization and other forms of inhumane treatment, meted out to women accused of witchcraft in their localities.
She further underscored the need for traditional rulers to declare zero tolerance for early child marriage and mob injustice gaining notoriety in the Northern Region.
She said the Alleged Witches Reintegration Committee and other partners, have over the years been working to protect the rights of vulnerable groups particularly women accused of witchcraft.
Hajia Lamnatu Adam implored the traditional rulers to subscribe to a declaration saying “No” to all forms of human right abuses against women and children.
Chairman of the Alleged Witches Reintegration Committee, Sheikh Dr. Al-Hussein Zakaria, decried the deplorable living conditions of alleged witches at the various camps.
“There are alleged witches everywhere in the world including Europe, Asia and Africa, but I wonder why suspected witches in Ghana often go through the dehumanizing treatment at the hands of family members and their communities.”
He mentioned sensitization of communities, media campaign, meeting with the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection as some of the activities carried out in line with the committee’s agenda to alleviate the plight of all alleged witches.
Sheikh Dr. Al-Hussein Zakaria called for a multifaceted approach to guarantee the safety and protection of the already ostracized women.
Senior Officer of Plan International Ghana in charge of the Girls Advocacy Alliance project, Nambere Anna, called for deeper collaboration between Civil Society Organizations and chiefs to stop women and girl child rights abuse.
She appealed to the chiefs to adopt the strategy initiated by Songtaba and its partners to promote women and child rights.
Nambere Anna reaffirmed her outfit’s commitment to fund projects aimed ensuring their enforcement of bye-laws meant to protect the rights of the vulnerable in society.
Head of Ghana’s Legal Aid Department, Northern Chapter, Issah Mahmudu [Esq], said the laws of Ghana condemns dehumanizing the fundamental human-rights of all citizens.
He advised the chiefs to dispel outmoded cultural practices that are injurious to others.
“Stop accusing innocent women of witchcraft. Majority of the people who are being accused and banished from their communities are defenseless, they are vulnerable and poor, and they don’t have people to come to their defense.”
Mahmudu Issah commended Songtaba and its partners for initiating bye-laws to protect the vulnerable in society.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana