ActionAid calls for law criminalising witchcraft accusations

Mrs Esther Boateng, Northern Regional Programmes Manager of ActionAid, has called on the government and other relevant organizations to ensure the enactment of laws that make witchcraft accusations a criminal offence and punishable by law.

Mrs Boateng said people accused of witchcraft were subjected to various inhumane treatment and stressed the need for legislation to defend and protect such accused persons.

She made the appeal during a sensitization campaign to erect billboards and share flyers on some principal streets of Tamale to raise awareness on witchcraft accusations.

The Programmes Manager said ActionAid, through its Alleged Witches Reintegration Committee and partners, had succeeded in reintegrating some alleged witches into their communities hence the need for the necessary legal support to facilitate their activities.

“We are working with the Alleged Witches Reintegration Committee and key stakeholders to ensure that Parliament passes a legislation that criminalises witchcraft accusations to enhance the sanity and dignity of the alleged witches,” she noted.

Mrs Beatrice Biije, Northern Regional Programmes Officer of ActionAid, said the absence of laws that frowned on witchcraft accusations had emboldened perpetrators to continue to abuse and intimidate persons alleged to be witches.

“The absence of legislation on witchcraft accusations has paved the way for the perpetrators to abuse innocent women. Some of these accusations are based on ignorance, shared jealousy and lack of empathy for the vulnerable women,” she said.

She said the trend, if not changed, could affect women representation in decision making and the dignity of womanhood.

Mr Rayan Iddi Yussif, Northern Regional Coordinator, Activista-Ghana, a youth empowerment organization, said the accusation of people of witchcraft without the necessary protection did not promote patriotism and loyalty to one’s country.

“When young people cannot be assured of the state’s commitment in safeguarding their fundamental human rights, it derails their service efforts and thus affects the development of the country,” he noted.

Source: GNA

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