ActionAid Ghana closes witches camp

ActionAid Ghana in collaboration with the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Reintegration Committee and other partners have closed down an alleged witches’ camp in Nabuli, a community in the Gushiegu Municipality.

The closure of the camp is to reintegrate about 45 alleged witches back into their communities following series of consultations and engagement with key stakeholders as well as the families of the alleged witches to accept them back to the communities.

As part of efforts to ensure the closure of the camp, ActionAid Ghana, the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection and other partners donated a grinding mill to the chief of Nabuli as well as an amount of GHC 100.00 and pieces of cloth to the alleged witches.

Mr Sulemana Abdul-Rahman, Country Director for ActionAid Ghana, made the call in a speech read on his behalf, during the official closing ceremony of the Nabuli Witches Camp.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said violence and discrimination suffered by women was barrier to the realization of their rights and the achievement of social justice and there is the need for all to halt the indiscriminate acts being perpetrated against women.

He said ActionAid in 2011, following a call by government to disband all alleged witches camps by 2012, advocated for a more consultative process since many people in villages did not know women had rights and many of the alleged witches didn’t want to return home because of stigmatization among others.

This, Mr Abdul-Rahman said, has resulted to the organization’s reintegration campaign and subsequently the formation of the Reintegration Committee (RC) aimed at sensitizing communities to address the perceptions and practices that put the alleged victims in the camps as well as educating the citizenry on the need to understand, appreciate, defend and accept the victims back into their communities.

He said the reintegration also factored in the empowerment of alleged witches by building their confidence and equipping them with livelihood skills so that they could earn a living when they are reintegrated.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said there are still three more camps to close and reiterated ActionAid’s commitment to ensuring that all the alleged witches are safely reintegrated into the society.

Mr Joseph Akanjolenur Whittal, Commissioner of CHRAJ, commended ActionAid Ghana for their efforts in mobilizing support and bringing diverse actors together for the rights of women.

He appealed to the people in the municipality to embrace the women back into society to live together in peace and harmony.

Mr Musah Issah, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Gusheigu, said the municipality currently has three alleged witches’ camps and the closure of the Nabuli Witches Camp was a duty to fight for the fundamental human rights of the alleged witches.

He commended ActionAid Ghana, SONTABA and its development partners as well as government for their immense contribution towards responding to the rights of vulnerable people, especially in the northern part of Ghana.

He said the assembly has enacted and gazette bylaws on the protection of human rights, particularly for women and children and other vulnerable groups in the municipality.

Madam Tuahiru Sanatu, leader of the alleged witches, expressed joy and gratitude to ActionAid and the other partners for their unconditional support and empowerment.

Source: GNA

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