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23.10.2004 General News

DV Bill will not increase divorce rate - Advocate

By GNA

Accra, Oct 23, GNA - Nana Oye Lithur, a Human Rights Advocate has debunked the assertion that countries that operate with a Domestic Violence Bill (DV Bill) has large number of divorce rates. She therefore, challenged the Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Mrs. Gladys Asmah to name such countries she claimed, have high divorce rates and back such claims with statistics.

Speaking to the GNA in an interview in Accra, Nana Oye, who is also the Coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said even without the DV bill currently in operation in Ghana, the divorce rate continues to increase: "So I do not believe that Bill would necessarily increase the divorce rate," she stressed.

The Women's Minister, in an earlier interview with the GNA said that people continued to express fear and anxiety over the DV Bill and that more education needed to be done for them to understand the issues. Mrs. Asmah has said education on the Bill was currently on-going and that the entire country needed to be educated before it would be taken to Cabinet and then to Parliament to be passed into law.

However, some women and human rights advocates, like Nana Oye believe that with the current level of education, the Bill must be pushed and then education would continue- informing and educating people on the existence of such a bill and penalties for anybody should one perpetrates in violence against another.

Nana Oye has therefore, expressed concern over the delay in passing the Bill in Ghana, stressing that women and children continue to suffer violence and the perpetrators are walking about freely- without any attempt to counsel or punish them.

The Coalition on the Domestic Violence Bill on Friday embarked on a peace walk to the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and then to the Castle to put pressure on the government, particularly on the Minister to quickly push for the early passage of the Bill.

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