lynched woman

The Star Ghana Foundation, on Tuesday, joined in the call on authorities to swiftly arrest and punish those who lynched the 90-year-old woman who was accused of witchcraft in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region.

Star Ghana, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, expressed concern that such acts still existed because their perpetrators were usually not penalised decisively in the past.

It, therefore, urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and all relevant national and local institutions to take urgent and sustainable actions “to nip this endemic practice”.

“This should be done without fear or favour from traditional, religious or ethnic sensibilities, which undermine human and citizen rights as prescribed by our national laws and regulations. Our traditions respect and celebrate the age and the elderly”.

It expressed the hope that Madam Akua Dente’s ordeal would mark a turning point for the narrative on witchcraft accusations and the attendant human rights violations in Ghana.

The statement, signed by Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chairperson of the Star Ghana Governing Council, stated: “Unfortunately, the accusers are not given a fair and legal trial and sometimes are banished from their communities.

“This act is inhumane, appalling and condemnable and cannot continue in Ghana again because the country has enviable records of human rights protection of its citizens and also a signatory to several international humans rights conventions and protocols”.

The statement said Star Ghana, consequently, partnered with Songtaba, a non-governmental organization, to support four Assemblies for the development of a framework for managing witchcraft accusation such as instituting relevant byelaws.

Additionally, it said, the 1992 Constitution guaranteed the protection of for all citizens – both young and older women – who were to live without unwarranted fear of being accused of witchcraft and the attendant harassment and abuse.

“A National Reintegration Committee, including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit and CSOs, put a lot of efforts to reduce the rate of witchcraft accusation,” it said.

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The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.

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