Accra, March 30, GNA - Mrs Georgina Mensah-Datsa, a Circuit Court Judge, on Wednesday said the culture and tradition of accusing women of witchcraft and banishing them to live in witch camps was contrary to the country\'s laws.
She said the practice was contrary to sections of the 1992 Constitution.
Mrs Mensah-Datsa said this at the launch of a publication dubbed: \"The Wasted Years¦ The reality of the Witches Camp and a documentary titled \"What I used to Know: The Road to Ghana\'s Witches Camp\", by the Southern Society Youth and Women\'s Empowerment Network (SOSYWEN), in Accra.
She said there were several articles in the Ghanaian constitution that guaranteed the freedom of every individual and it was important that steps were taken to ensure that the existing laws were enforced.
Mrs Mensah-Datsa noted that women deserved the right to develop their potential and contribute to the development of their communities and the society as a whole.
She called for a collaborative duty and responsibility to ensure that the cultural practices that curtailed women\'s rights to live in freedom was abolished, adding that the Judiciary would also continue to play its role in ensuring that everyone was respected and enforced.
Ms Zenabu Sakibu, Coordinator of SOSYWEN, said the main aim of the projects was to advocate for the abolishing of the practice which results in banishing innocent women from their communities to live in the witches\' camps.
She said the 74-paged publication would show views shared by some eminent Ghanaians on the witches\' camp, while the documentary would present a graphical image of what pertained in the camps and the living conditions that prevailed there.
Ms Sakibu noted that it was important to recognise that these practices denied some women the chance to strive within their environment and communities in order to gain recognition and commendation.
She said there was the urgent need for sustained education and law enforcement as well as a strong voice to ensure that the practice was abolished, since there were several articles in the 1992 Constitution and the criminal code which prohibited the practice.
Ms Sakibu urged the media and all stakeholders to take special interest in the problem and help bring to the attention of policy makers, the suffering of women, as a result of some cultural practices and beliefs that dehumanised vulnerable people.
Mrs Comfort Edu, Head of Public Relations at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said people hide behind culture and religious beliefs to perpetuate various forms of violence to disintegrate society instead of using these elements to hold the society together.
She said in spite of government and civil society efforts in condemning the phenomenon whereby people were accused of witchcraft and subsequently sent to the witches\' camp, the practice still prevailed in some parts of the northern part of Ghana.
Mrs Edu said: \"The practice is not only an affront to the fundamental human rights of the victims, but also go a long way to cast a slur on the nation\'s human rights records\".
She therefore noted that it was very important to raise the bar with respect to creating the necessary awareness for all those involved in the practice of accusing people of witchcraft to desist as it was the surest way of ensuring social justice and unity.