CSOs demand justice for old woman killed for alleged witchcraft

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to promote children and women’s rights have condemned the beating to death of an old lady at Kafaba, a town in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, saying such an act was barbaric and must not be tolerated.

They said “We, the CSOs in Ghana, are deeply concerned and saddened that Ghana, after having made strides in the promotion of human rights and even signed onto a number of human rights charters and protocols including the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, will sit aloof and watch over this gross inhuman act meted out to this old lady.”

This was contained in statement issued jointly in Tamale on Friday by Songtaba, ActionAid Ghana, NORSAAC and Reintegration Committee, and signed by Madam Lamnatu Adam, Executive Director of Songtaba.

An old lady named Akua Denteh, believed to be 90 years old, was on Thursday beaten to death at Kafaba by some residents of the area, who accused her of witchcraft and being behind certain strange happenings in the area including limiting the progress of the town.

The incident was captured on video, which has since gone viral on social media, and in the video, some of the people, who were beating the old lady, were heard saying “Allahu Akbar”.

The Ghana News Agency gathered that Police in the Region had retrieved the body of the deceased for autopsy and further investigations, but no arrests have yet been made.

The statement said “We are concerned that violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive manifestations of discrimination against women and violations of their human rights in Northern Ghana for witchcraft accusations based on suspicions and allegations.”

It said “This barbaric act is a serious gender-based violence situation and cannot be accepted in this 21st century when Ghana is a signatory to many international conventions and protocols to protect the lives and dignity of every Ghanaian. The Constitution of Ghana is supposed to protect every individual to enjoy their fundamental human rights and must be activated in situations like this.”

It said “The act of trial by ordeal has sentenced many women to live in excluded alleged witches’ camps, which for many years, Songtaba and the Reintegration Committee have worked on actively sensitising communities, and to disband these camps.”

The statement called on law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this inhuman act, adding “CSOs in Ghana are giving the police a three-day ultimatum to effect the arrest since the faces of the perpetrators were very visible in the video.”

It said “It is rather unfortunate the perpetrators of this dastardly act are heard to be praising God saying “Allahu Akbar”. Violence has never been part of Islamic teachings and will never be and so. We, therefore, call on the Islamic community to speak up and condemn this unIslamic act that has been associated with a religion known to be preaching peace.”

It called on traditional authorities to “condemn this act and support efforts to secure justice for the deceased”.

It also called on the National Commission for Civic Education, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to support in promoting the sensitisation of communities on human rights violations to safeguard the rights of all citizens.

Source: GNA

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