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12.12.2007 General News

Poor Recognition Of Women's Contribution Mars Democracy-Bossman

Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) yesterday said lack of recognition of women's contribution in the struggle for independence during Ghana's golden jubilee celebrations was a poor reflection of the country's democracy.
She said after 50 years, it was also unfortunate that abuses against the rights of women persisted despite various legislations to ensure equitable justice and respect for human dignity.
Ms Bossman was speaking at a luncheon hosted by Ms Sue K. Brown, Deputy Chief of Missions of the United States Embassy in Accra to mark the 2007 International Human Rights Day.
Speaking on the theme: 'Women's Right in Ghana over 50 years,'  Ms Bossman said poor participation and representation of women in decision making processes, the predominant rate of women in poverty, high  maternal mortality and discriminatory social practices were indications that the country had not done too well in bridging the  gender gap.
She stated that some legislations, such as the Domestic Violence Act would not have been passed without strong advocacy from women activists, saying that demonstrated poor political commitment. 
The CHRAJ Commissioner said women should therefore recognise their role in human development, become catalyst and more assertive in the fight for social justice.   
Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice said although the Judicial Service was committed to equal justice, there were some legislations that needed reforms to respond to the interest of women.
She said rural women often faced greater difficulty in accessing justice as a result of illiteracy, poverty and other technicalities associated with filing suits though the introduction of the alternative dispute resolution method was more convenient for women.
Mrs Justice Wood said the Judiciary would, from January next year institute divisional family tribunals to handle family issues and encourage the use of local dialect in courts to make it more comfortable for illiterate women.
She called on female legal practitioners to provide legal aid to women and urged the Police, especially to handle women with care.
Ms Pamela Bridgewater, US Ambassador commended Ghana for its record of human rights considering its lively media, civil society, religious tolerance and draft policies to fight human trafficking and child labour.
She said despite various interventions to eliminate human right abuses, pervasive corruption, life threatening prison conditions, vigilant justice, child labour and traditional practices that discriminate against women and children should be worked at.
The Embassy provided cheques of grants from the US Democracy and Human Rights Fund to five civil society organisations to undertake projects on good governance, women's reproductive rights, mental health, free elections, among others.
The beneficiaries were Amasachina Self-Help Association, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Volta Physically Challenged Independent Group, Young Women's Muslim Association and Ghanalert.