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07.11.2008 General News

Chigabatia launches war on obsolete cultural practices

By GNA
Chigabatia launches war on obsolete cultural practices

The Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), municipal and district assemblies and traditional authorities in the region would work together to enact by-laws criminalising harmful cultural practices.

Mrs. Agnes Chigabatia, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, on Thursday announced this at a meeting with traditional authorities and other stakeholders to discuss the abolishing of negative cultural practices in the region, in Bolgatanga.

The meeting held on the theme "Human Rights for Women, Human Rights for All: The Role of Traditional Authorities in Protecting Women's Rights", was organized by Action Aid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation.

It was aimed at assessing the impact of a resolution issued by traditional authorities and stakeholders three years ago, abolishing harmful cultural practices, particularly those on widowhood rites, widow inheritance, female genital mutilation, dowry among others in the region.

Mrs. Chigabatia stressed that the right to dignified life was fundamental to human development and must be respected.

She said government has initiated sound policies to protect the fundamental rights of the citizenry.

Mrs. Chigabatia said government also created Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, enacted the Domestic Violence law, among others.

She commended the NGO for organizing the meeting, which according to her could help curb obsolete cultural practices, infringing on the rights of the people.

Mrs. Chigabatia urged traditional authorities to champion the fight against harmful cultural practices.

Mrs. Pualina Abayage, Upper East Director of the Department of Women, called on the traditional authorities to ensure the abolishing of harmful cultural practices in the area.

She mentioned early marriages and betrothal, making girls to stay at their fathers' home and deliver to continue family linage preventing pregnant women from accessing health among others.

Mr. Gregory Dery, the NGO officer in charge of women's rights, said the group work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and to fight injustice and eliminate violence against women.

He noted that despite the existence of national laws and international conventions on human rights, people's rights especially those of women were being violated.

Mr. Dery appealed to government to implement the National Action Plan on violence against women.

Reviewing the resolution, adopted by the traditional authorities, most of the chiefs said they had made progress.

They mentioned widowhood rights, Female Genetal Mutilation, girl-child education among others as areas where progress had been made and pledged to continue to work towards eliminating harmful cultural practices.

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