The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service in the Upper East Region on Friday said it would deal ruthlessly with relatives of deceased husbands who molest widows.
The Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU, District Superintendent (DSP) of Police, Jerome Kanyog who issued the warning during the celebration of the International Widows Day, expressed worry about the high numbers of molestation of widow cases being reported to the unit.
He said a considerable number of widows had been stopped by relatives of their deceased husbands from cropping their late husbands’ farms and that was making it very difficult for such widows to cater for their children.
He said another negative trend was the situation where some widows were being accused of witchcraft and were quite often banished from their communities.
DSP Kanyog said “these negative practices are a complete violation and abuse of fundamental human rights under the 1992 constitution.”
He said another reported case of violation against widows in some parts of the region was the act of ‘trial by ordeal’, where some widows were suspected of killing their husbands and being subjected to inimical cultural practices such as being stripped naked and made to drink certain concoctions which were harmful to their health.
He said DOVVSU will invoke the constitution to deal with people who want to subject widows and women in general to inhuman practices.
Mrs Lucy Awuni, Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, appealed to traditional rulers to abolish obnoxious laws that were inimical to the rights of some people in their communities and advised women to develop a common and united front to fight against gender based violence.
She said government would strengthen institutions that were working to promote human rights issues especially gender based violence.
Ms Betty Ayageba, National Director of the Widows and Orphans Movement said there were about 245 million widowed women worldwide who suffer from rape, forced marriages, eviction from homes, social isolation, psychological and physical trauma.
The International Widows day held in the Region under the theme, “Ending Violence against Widows through the Recognition of Widows Rights”, was organized by the Widows and Orphans Movement with support from Action Aid Ghana.