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10.09.2005 Regional News

MOWAC sensitises Muslims on Domestic Violence Bill


Accra, Sept. 10, GNA-A sensitisation workshop on the Domestic Violence Bill (DVB) was on Saturday organised for Muslims with a call on them to partner with state institutions to help curb domestic violence. Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children Affairs, who made the call said the inadequacies of the existing laws to effectively sanction domestic violence had called for the passing out of the Domestic Violence Law to curb violence in the society. She said the gender neutrality of the current DVB, when finally passed into law would provide protection for all men, women and children.

"The family unit is the fabric of society. Therefore, the DVB law will not break it but rather help build upon it," Hajia Mahama said. Members of the Federation of Muslim Council, (FMC) Islamic Council for Development, Ghana Muslim Mission and the Caucus of Muslim Women attended the workshop to deliberate and give their views on the Bill. Hajia Mahama explained that Cabinet, which was still considering the Bill, has directed her Ministry to solicit views from all sections of the public before it came into force.

Ms Hamida Harrison Programme Director of Abantu for Development, an NGO spoke on the "Domestic Violence Bill and its Impact" noted that the quantum of people who suffered violence were children and women. She described violence against women, as a big factor that hindered the progression of women therefore there was the need for the Bill to be passed into law so that the quality of life would be improved. " Forcing your sister or girl-child into marriage also amount to violence. Refusing to consult your household over issues that affect the well being of the whole house also constitute violence." Ms Hamida indicated.

Dr Ken Attafuah, Associate Director of GIMPA who spoke on the "Role of the Individual and Community in curbing Domestic Violence", urged that every Mosque should create a section that would campaign against violence in Muslim homes and the general society. He also recommended the creation of institutional mechanisms that would help deal with impatient and anger of people that usually culminated into a violence act.

"Individuals must also assist the Police in investigating and prosecuting all forms of violence in the society. Let us all criminalize domestic violence!"

Alhaji Abdullah Williams, National Coordinator of the FMC expressed his appreciation to the Ministry for first soliciting their views before the DVB was passed, saying it was a good law that would help correct injustices on women and children.