Ghanaian MPs: Focus on Combating Witch Persecution, not Witch Camps

Blg Social Appeal Witch Camp
Blg Social Appeal Witch Camp

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges parliamentarians in Ghana to tackle witchcraft accusations and witch persecution, not the witch camping facilities in the region. AfAW is making this call following a report in the Ghanaian media that some parliamentarians have asked the government to abolish the witch camps, describing these facilities as an abomination. In support of this move, a parliamentarian, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said, “Such facilities deprive women of their rights to develop fully and freely, and ends depriving their children of education, good health, and proper sanitation”. Again, politicians in Ghana are mistaken; they are expending time and energy addressing a symptom, not the disease, a consequence, not the cause.

In the past decade, the government of Ghana has, on several occasions, announced plans to disband these so-called witch camps due to reports of human rights violations of persons who live there. It has been noted that the “witch camp” at Bonyase has been closed down.

Parliamentarians and the government of Ghana must be thoughtful in addressing this issue. Politicians must understand that the quest to close down these make-shift shelters for persons displaced due to witchcraft accusations and witch persecution is not the issue. The “practice” of witch camps is not the problem. Witch camp is not an abomination. It is rather a humanitarian gesture of containment and management of the problem. Witch camp is the solution, although not a perfect one. Witchcraft accusation is the real issue. The attack of suspected witches is the problem. Parliamentarians should confront and tackle this phenomenon. Witch persecution constitutes an abomination because allegations of witchcraft force suspected witches to flee their homes, and take refuge at these camps. No doubt, the living conditions at these witch camps are dire.

Many people lack the basic needs and necessities of life including access to decent shelter, food, clothing, and medical care. These witch camps are embodiments of humanitarian crises and human rights violations. But these witch camps provide alleged witches options and alternatives after being accused or banished from their communities. Without these camps, many alleged witches would be dead. So, how do these “witch camps” constitute a form of abomination?

AfAW urges parliamentarians to rethink this move and focus attention on stopping witchcraft allegations in Ghana.
The MPs should take measures to combat witch persecution in the communities. They should take steps to end the banishment of alleged witches. With time, if no person were accused or banished for witchcraft, there would be no need for witch camps. These facilities would slowly disappear.

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