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Amnesty International calls for Presidential assent to the Anti-witchcraft Bill

Amnesty International, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) has called for a swift Presidential assent to the Anti-Witchcraft Bill, to protect especially vulnerable women, who are unjustly accused of witchcraft and subjected to inhumane treatment.

Miss Genevieve Partington, the Country Director of Amnesty International, who made the call said, ‘By enacting this Bill into law, we send a clear message that witchcraft accusations have no place in a modern, progressive society.’

She was speaking at a forum in Tamale to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day, which was on the theme: ‘Ending Witchcraft Persecution: Advancing Justice, Inclusion, and the Prohibition of Witchcraft Accusations in Ghana – Fate of the Anti-Witchcraft Bill’.

It was organised by Songtaba, an NGO, in partnership with Vibrant Village Foundation, Amnesty International, Coalition Against Witchcraft Accusation, ActionAid, and OXFAM, to discuss witchcraft accusations and the fate of the Anti-Witchcraft Bill.

The Anti-Witchcraft B
ill, which is a private member’s Bill, had been passed by Parliament, but the President was yet to give his assent for it to become a law.

Ms Partington called for support to stand in solidarity with the vulnerable women in Ghana who had suffered unjustly in the hands of witchcraft accusers.

Hajia Lamnatu Adam, the Executive Director, Songtaba, highlighted the progress made in reintegrating alleged witches into their communities saying, ‘A lot has been done around reintegrating women, who are accused of witchcraft back home.’

Hajia Adam said ‘Collectively, at the Regional Reintegration Committee, we have reintegrated about 220 women accused of witchcraft, who lived in the camps and now back home. We have also jointly disbanded or closed two of the alleged witches’ camps leaving four.’

She said the issue of witchcraft accusation was not just a fight for Songtaba, because it had grown to have a lot more organisations supporting the call for the Anti-Witchcraft Bill to be assented to by the President.

Sintaro Sakoya Naa, who chaired the event, condemned the practice of ostracising women based on witchcraft accusations.

The Coalition of CSOs Against Witchcraft Accusations, as part of the forum, sent an open letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, calling for comprehensive measures to facilitate the reintegration of affected women into society.

They called for assistance in areas including access to health care, education, economic opportunities and psychological support.

Source: Ghana News Agency