Parliament calls for the closure of witches’ camps
Members of Parliament (MPs) have decried the existence of witches’ camps and have unanimously called for the closure of all such settlements in the country.
They said the closure would bring to an end the barbaric and inhumane treatment meted out to alleged witches, who are mostly old and vulnerable women.
Rallying her colleagues to demand an end to the phenomenon, which has claimed the lives of some victims, Ms Dzifa Abla Gomashie, the MP for Ketu South, said it was an affront to human right and dignity of victims for such “barbaric” acts to be visited on them.
In a statement on the floor of the House yesterday, to mark this year’s International Day of Older People, the Ketu South MP said state actors must enforce laws that protect the rights of older people and punish those who abuse them to serve as deterrent to others.
It is shameful, Ms Gomashie said, for law enforcement agencies to look on unconcerned for the rights of the elderly and vulnerable to be abused in the name of cultural practice.
Having contributed their respective quotas in diverse ways in the development of the country, the MP said, the vulnerable in society needed protection.
Backing the call, the MP for Asunafo South, Mr Eric Opoku, said the lip service paid to the issue of witches camps should end and action rather taken to deter future perpetrators.
“Successive leaders have spoken repeatedly about their commitments to get these women re-integrated to disband the camps, but sadly, it’s been a lot of talks. It’s about time leadership walked the talk,” he said.
Dr Freda Prempeh, MP for the Tano North Constituency, said punishing people who abuse the rights of this vulnerable group is the solution to the phenomenon.
In her view, laws that frown on the establishment of witches’ camps must be implemented rigorously without fear or favour.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the MP for North Tongu, said “it beats comprehension how such witches’ camps were established in the first place”, and that they ought to be disbanded forthright.
The witches’ camps, he said, deprive the victims of their rights to develop fully and freely, and truncate the development of their children.
The MP for Takoradi Constituency, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, said it was cruel to accuse the most vulnerable in society, including widows and totag them with witchcraft and humiliate them.
This year’s theme for the day is “Addressing gender-based violence in older age- policy-law and evidence-based responses.”