The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has held an emergency stakeholders meeting to find lasting solutions to gender-based violence.
It is also geared towards ending all harmful traditional practices in the country.This followed the lynching of the 90-year old woman, Madam Mariam Akua Denteh, at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region.
The meeting on the theme; “Protect Vulnerable Women, Their Lives Matter” was attended by ministers, traditional leaders, religious leaders, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, development partners, the National Peace Council, Action Aid Ghana and the media.
They raised concerns on the unfortunate lynching of the old woman and issued a communique to effectively deal with such situations in future to protect the welfare of women and girls.
The Communique called for a nationwide education targeting men and women, boys and girls on the effects of gender stereotypes, attitudes and beliefs that condone violence and harmful constructions of masculinity.
“Design and implement actions that promote gender equitable norms and behaviors and women’s participation in decision-making, Strengthen and increase access to justice, including; reparations, and access to comprehensive services” it stated.
“The empowerment of women and girls and the eradication of stigmatization of survivors, adoption of approaches at different levels and engaging all segments of society, including; traditional leaders, religious leaders, and civil society groups”.
“Strengthen legislation that addresses violence against women. In particular design legislation to punish witchcraft allegations as had been done for Trokosi and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)”.
It also called for the identification of male and female gender influential people who could champion Gender Based Violence agenda at the national, regional, district, and community levels; and engage boys and young men to become agents of change and transformation.
Mrs Cynthia Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, commended the stakeholders for their participation to deliberate on mechanisms to end the accusation of witchcraft in society.
She said it was wrong to accuse and abuse somebody based on the accusation that such a person was a witch as it was against their fundamental human rights.
The Minister said government would close all witch camps, provide a safe haven for inmates of the camps and reintegrate some back into society.
“Together with our Social Welfare Department we are looking at rehabilitating some of our buildings to make it a safe haven. What we are looking at most is to put an end to this kind of lynching because you perceive the person to be a witch,” she stated.
Ms Akua Dokuah, the Deputy Minister of Information, said those acts were perpetrated in society due to the mentality that some people had on the aged and therefore called for more sensitization programmes to educate the people.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the UNFPA Country Representative, commended the Gender Ministry for including traditional leaders in the dialogue process as they were the gate keepers in communities as regards endearing cultural practices.
He said this was a serious issue against human rights thus, “we need to strengthen our agencies and mechanisms to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals target of living no one behind.”
Mr Ojuolape called state institutions to support all the interventions outlined during the meeting to eradicate gender base violence in societies.
Rev Dr Cyril Fayose, General Secretary Christian Council of Ghana, urged pastors who also engage in the act of labelling people as witches to desist from it.
He said protecting the vulnerable in society was the responsibility of all and urged people to report the act of lynching such people for the appropriate action to be taken.