PETITION TO CRIMINALIZE WITCH HUNTING IN GHANA
In July 2020, Ghanaians were shocked by the depraved lynching of a 90-year old woman accused of witchcraft in the Savana Region. More incidents of attempted lynching have been reported in the media since, with victims badly beaten and slashed with machetes. Belief in witchcraft in Ghana is rooted in religion and culture. The belief is widespread and deeply rooted in Ghanaian society and so is witchcraft accusations with devastating physical, emotional, mental, social and economic consequences. The stigma is generational. Over five hundred victims, mainly women, have been banished into so-called witch camps in the northern part of Ghana.
The Sanneh Institute is hereby petitioning Ghana’s Parliament and the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs to:
- Pass a Law criminalizing witchcraft accusations in Ghana. Britain passed the Witchcraft Act of 1735 which criminalized witchcraft accusations. After sixty-four years of independence, it is high time Ghana passed a similar law named after Akua Denteh. The last parliament started working on a bill just before the elections and we are hereby petitioning the current parliament to pass the “Akua Denteh Act” immortalizing the poor old lady who was lynched and save others from facing similar fate.
- Prevail on traditional rulers to return and receive the victims from the so-called witch camps back to their homes and relatives or any community of their choice and to guarantee their safety. Ghana is the only country in the world with “witch camps” which does not speak well of the nation’s reputation in the 21st century. Support should be given to the victims to restart their lives in society. Those who for various reasons cannot be returned into the communities should be provided with a safe house away from the camps
The Sanneh Institute has launched a “Let Our Mothers Go Home” campaign to pressure the authorities to reintegrate the women into society and away from the camps. If you feel strongly about the plight of not only the victims currently languishing in the camps but the plight of women in general and gender-based violence, please sign the petition and join the advocacy.