General News of 2014-06-19

US gov't condemns human right abuses in Ghana

The United States government has tasked Ghana’s Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture to conduct research into human right abuses which culminate into the labeling of aged women as alleged witches and expelling them from their original communities.

With one million cedis grant from the US government, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture is expected to come out with recommendations which could lead to the disbandment of alleged witch camps located in various parts of the Northern Region.

Records have proven that over a million aged women in rural communities particularly in various parts of the Northern Region have been ostracized and camped in isolated communities called alleged witch camps.

There are six of these identified camps scattered all over the Northern Region including the popular one at Gambaga in the East Mamprusi district, that of Gnani in the Yendi district and the one at Kukuo in the Nanumba South district.

The Gushiegu district has two camps with one at Nabuli as well as that Basingwa in the Central Gonja district.

United States Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Excellency Gene Cretz brought the one million grant to the fore when he paid a day’s working visit to the Gnani camp in the Yendi district.

He reiterated the US government’s commitment to promote the Ghanaian human rights system to improve the livelihood of the destitute in society.

Ambassador Gene Cretz added that the US government was determined to commit enough resources to improve the health and education sectors to reduce poverty.

Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture, Dr. Henry Seidu Danaa commended the US government for the kind gesture and promised that the package will be put to good use.

He unveiled government’s plans to modernize the chieftaincy institution as part of measures aimed at resolving the numerous conflicts which have inundated the Northern Region.

Dr. Danaa called for sustainable peace in the entire Northern Region to attract investors.

He also pleaded with all opposing factions in the north to always use dialogue in solving their chieftaincy, land and other related disputes.

Later at the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Dr. Henry Seidu Danaa launched a project code named, “Elimination of outmoded customary practices” aimed at modernizing the chieftaincy institution.

Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Limuna Muniru, appealed to the chiefs to prove their relevance in nation building by operating in line with the 1992 constitution.

He noted with deep concern that the socio-economic development of the region had retrogressed over the years as a result of the numerous chieftaincy and land related disputes.

Alhaji Limuna further admonished the chiefs to eliminate outmoded customs and practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, child betrothal, elopement and witchcraft which he said were inimical to human development.

Ambassador Gene Cretz reassured the chiefs of US government’s noninterference in Ghanaian chieftaincy matters.

Nonetheless, he urged the chiefs to respect the rule of law during adjudication on issues brought before them.