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22.09.2004 Regional News

Upper East Chiefs dissatisfied with domestic violence bill.

By GNA

Bolgatanga, Sept. 22, GNA - Chiefs in the Upper East Region have expressed misgivings about the domestic violence bill at a forum in Bolgatanga.

In their view, the Bill is meant only for urban dwellers, while the proposed law on marital rape is anti-Ghanaian.

These were made known during a forum on the role of traditional rulers in implementing the domestic violence bill.

It was organise by Action Aid Ghana an NGO, in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). The Regional Director of CHRAJ, Mr Joe Whittle, briefed the chiefs on the pros and cons of the bill, and said the purpose of the workshop was to get them well informed so that they could make the right input into the passing of the bill.

He said the bill is international and not gender bias. "What is at stake is for traditional ruler to reflect on those customary practices which the bill seeks to change," he said.

Mr Whittle urged the chiefs to appreciate the good intentions of the bill even though some aspects of it may be difficult.

The Bolga-Naba, Martin Abilba III, called for a disciplined, healthy marriages where couples will live in harmony without violence. He appealed to his fellow chiefs to make careful contributions since the Bill cuts across all boundaries, and urged them to ensure that obsolete customs and traditions were abolished.

The chief of Nakole near Saga Pe F.N. Aluah, expressed the fear that the Bill may create litigation for the courts to settle.

Nab Apig-Tiak Afulang, Chief of Siniesi in the Builsa District, called for an extensive education of women and children on the Bill to reduce violence instead of rushing to promulgate the bill.

Naba Apambila Aberimah, Chief of Yikene near Bolgatanga, was of the opinion that the Bill seeks to break up families permanently because certain cases when se to court can make reconciliation almost impossible.

He said chiefs should be made to handle sensitive cases, failure of which they would report to the courts. He added that because of the dowry system the north will have complications with the passing of the domestic violence Bill.

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