Discard obnoxious cultural practices to spur national development – NCCE

Mr Daniel Kwesi Thompson, Assin Central Municipal Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has called on traditional and religious rulers to “muster courage” and review all outmoded cultural practices

He said the review is necessary to help do away with all outlawed and inhibiting cultural practices that dehumanizes and infringed on people’s rights particularly women and children.

The Municipal Director of the Commission, speaking at a public engagement in Assin Fosu, said Ghana as a signatory to international commitments such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals, could not continue to operate in the midst of obnoxious and inimical cultural practices that violate the rights of citizens.

Mr Thompson said traditions, such as the one that bars widows from engaging in economic activity until 40 days after the burial of their husbands and other social norms and practices that drive unequal outcomes for women and girls, are an affront to the fundamental rights of women, describing it as a discriminatory act that threatened the very existence of women.

Negative cultural practices such as denying women farmers’ access to fertile land, widowhood rites, child marriage and female genital mutilation are among some of the inhumane practices that are affecting the growth of women, he said.

According to the United Nations (UN) discrimination and violence against women persist irrespective of existing laws but with the amendment of the Criminal Code of 1998 to criminalize harmful widowhood rites and ritual servitude, the law courts were passing judgement to such cases.

In addition, the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides constitutional protection for all persons before the law as Section 17 prohibits discrimination based on gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.

Mr Thompson was unhappy that despite these provisions, there are still several discriminatory social and cultural practices and societal codes evoked in the name of traditions and religion, which undermine the dignity and rights of women.

He pledged the Commission’s commitment to work closely with traditional and religious leaders and non-governmental organisations, to abolish negative cultural practices that hamper the progress of women.

Mrs Joyce Amankwa, an official with the Commission, said hard work, communal spirit and responsible parenting were some of the manifestation of the Ghanaian culture and these virtues must be encouraged among the youth.

She appealed to parents to provide their children with opportunities to play, grow and interact with their peers.

Source: GNA

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