Kumasi, May 22, GNA – The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), a civil society organisation championing the rights of women, has called on Parliament to expedite processes for the passage of the Land Bill into law.
It emphasised that its component spelling out provisions on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) should remain intact as that would help protect women and the vulnerable in society.
This was in a statement read in Kumasi by Ms Cynthia Sunu, the Project Coordinator, as part of a signature campaign intended to solicit support for the passage of a GESI-responsive Land Bill, to protect women and the vulnerable.
The Bill, which was laid before Parliament last year for consideration, was withdrawn in March, this year, after it was referred to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, for a review with key stakeholders.
Even though the GESI provisions in the Land Bill were intact after the Committee’s work, NETRIGHT believes there is the need to mobilise support to ensure that those provisions were not removed when the Bill is re-laid before Parliament.
“It is for this reason that we are sharing the status of the Bill to enable the media to keenly follow deliberations when it is re-laid for consideration,’’ Ms Sunu said.
“We urge the media to raise the political consciousness of the public to support the passage of the Land Bill.”
She called on the President to use his high office to impress upon the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and Parliament to pass the Bill as soon as possible.
Ms Sunu said women and men were equal development partners hence any legislation that sought to address inequalities and promote gender justice must be supported by all.
She said land administration and management in the country was fraught with conflicts and that a GESI-responsive Land Bill would contribute greatly to addressing some of those conflicts.
Mrs Patricia Blankson Akakpo, the Programme Manager of NETRIGHT, said land played a central role in the lives of many Ghanaians, with nearly two-thirds of the population making a living as smallholder farmers, yet access to land remained a challenge, especially to women farmers.
The passage of a GESI-responsive Land Bill, she said, would address the plight of hundreds of thousands of women whose livelihoods depended on land but were unjustifiably being denied access to land, both for farming and other economic activities.