‘Let’s take action to address causes of human rights violations’

A Women’s Rights Advocacy and Campaign Manager of ActionAid Ghana, Margaret Brew-Ward, has entreated Civil Society Organisations to take actions to address the root causes of human rights violations.

She also urged the government to muster the political will to curb the menace as the citizenry could not continue to turn a blind eye and engage in talk shops without taking bold action to curb such violations.

”I assure the public of commitment, dedication and determination of our partners to continue to fight to ensure the elimination of human rights violations and all well-meaning people to join in the fight to restore dignity and the country’s credentials as law-abiding, human rights, respecting and truly governed in practice by the rule of law,” Madam Brew-Ward said.

Touching on witch hunting as a human rights violation, she lamented that witch camps were effectively women’s prisons where inmates had been given no trial, no right of appeal but had received life sentence adding that ‘‘witchcraft accusation is not a tradition as stipulated in Article 26 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.

“All customary practices, which dehumanise or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person, must be prohibited but why are we not getting needed national attention on this practice?’’ She quizzed saying “these incidents are truly unacceptable and constitute blot on our credentials as a country that is governed by rule of law”.

According to Madam Brew-Ward, the practice was not just a shame it was egregious that must be stopped entirely because such women were banished from their homes and forced to live in ‘‘witch camps’’ whose continued existence in the 21st century was cruel manifestation of gender inequality and violence against women in the country.

She called on Parliament to fast-track the passage of the Private Member’s Bill to criminalise witch hunting despite the protection the Constitution granted to all persons, women were accused of witchcraft, condemned to life of extreme violence and isolation.

Madam Brew-Ward bemoaned the condemnable incident, many other women continued to face various levels of abuse in silence, hence, the act must as a matter of urgency and extreme priority be made unattractive by criminalising and prosecuting perpetrators of such human rights abuses.

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