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Let's disband witch camps; it's barbaric, indictment on conscience – Jane Naana

Headlines Let's disband witch camps; it's barbaric, indictment on conscience – Jane Naana
DEC 2, 2021 LISTEN

The 2020 Vice Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman has made a passionate appeal to government and civil society groups to as a matter of urgency close down all witch camps across the country.

She made this appeal during her visit to the Leli Dabari camp in the Gushegu Municipal as part of her three-day visit to the Northern region.

Presenting items to them in a short ceremony she said: “When we pray for long life, we should live it in peace. When I entered here, I asked, where are their washrooms, bedrooms and kitchens. I’m informed reptiles climb these short walls to harass these women at night. This is inhumane, some even live here with their grandchildren which is very bad. But these children have nowhere to go.

“As a woman, I feel their pain and worry and, therefore, plead with the government to come to the aid of these women. Together let us disband this camp and move them back home to join their families. This practice has become an indictment on the conscience of our society.”

“Let us not get to a level where we think this is acceptable. Wherever we are, we must join forces to bring an end to this barbaric act,” she stressed.

She empathised that authorities must interrogate the reasons that account for this situation, remove them so they can return to their known environments.

“We need to raise public awareness through public education and find lasting solutions, because this conditions make mockery of long life which is a blessing. Everyone must help get out of this trap - government, community, family, everyone has a role to play,” she added.

Items presented include bags of rice, water, liters of cooking oil, and assorted drinks costing thousands of cedis.

Background

For years, Ghanaians have banished women from their villages who were suspected of witchcraft. There are currently around 1,000 women and 700 children living in 6 of the witches’ camps in Ghana’s northern region.

Many of them are elderly women who have been accused of inflicting death, misfortune, and calamity on their neighbors and villages through sorcery, witchcraft.

These women enjoy a certain degree of protection within these camps, located some distance from their communities in which they could be tortured, beaten to death, or lynched, but the conditions of the camps are often poor. The "accused witches," as they are sometimes referred to, live in tiny thatched mud huts, and have limited access to food and must fetch water from nearby streams and creeks.

During the past NDC administration, the Gnagi witch camp with about 50 to 60 inmates was closed down following a collaboration with the traditional authorities.

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