Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ban on Widowhood Rights

Ban on Dehumanising widowhood rites in Bongo

The Ghanaian Times, Tuesday, February 26, 2008. Page 25 (Regional News)

The paramount chief of the Bongo traditional area in the Upper East Region, Naba Baba Salifu Aleemeyaarum, has banned the performance of widowhood rites in the area, which human rights activists describe as dehumanising.

Under the widowhood rites, widows are forced to strip naked in public and undergo other unpleasant exercises that abuse their right to dignity.

In light of the ban, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Wednesday commended Naba Salifu for placing the ban on the performance act. Mr. Sulemana Abdul Hakeem, Acting District Director for CHRAJ, made the commendation when he delivered a lecture on the topic “Female Genital Mutilation, the Law and Human Rights,” at a one-day information and communication workshop for the media on female genital mutilation (FGM).

The workshop organised by the Ghanaian Association for Women’s Welfare (GAWW) was to sharpen the skills of the media in championing the fight against FGM.

He urged other paramount chiefs to emulate the chief of Bongo and pointed out that certain negative cultural practices such as FGM and widowhood rites among others constituted the violation of human rights and have to be abandoned or modified to suit modern society.

Mrs. Eunice Maasodong, Secretary of GAWW, entreated the media to focus more on issues affecting the dignity of women and expose those who abuse them, so that they could be dealt with according to the law. -GNA

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