Tuesday, December 1, 2009

PRESS STATEMENT ON ALLEGED GANG RAPE OF FOUR GIRLS

Following the horrid news report on the alleged rape of girls in Nalerigu, in the northern parts of Ghana by some soldiers, NETRIGHT issued a statement to the press about these atrocities. Permission has been sought to share the press statement on this blog. Please read below:



NETWORK FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN GHANA (NETRIGHT)

C/O Third World Network-Africa
P. O. Box 19452, Accra-North
Tel: 233 21 511189/500419/503669
Fax: 233 21 511188
Email: netright@twnafrica.org
Mobilising for Women’s Rights in Ghana



STATEMENT TO THE PRESS ON ALLEGED GANG RAPE OF FOUR GIRLS

The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) is deeply disturbed by the alleged gang rape of four girls, aged between 15 and 17 at Nalerigu in the Northern Region by a number of solders and policemen who are said to have been deployed there to quell a public disorder. The story as reported on Joy FM on November 25, 2009 and also in the Daily Guide of November 26, 2009 comes in the wake of several other stories in the media about women and girls who have been subjected to a wide range of sexual violence including gang rape, beatings, torture with the possible threat of HIV infection. Such victims have sustained severe physical and emotional trauma and humiliation. Clearly we are living through a plague of brutal violence directed at women and girls with rape being used as a weapon of intimidation to instill fear in women and girls, in our families and our communities.

NETRIGHT is therefore using this platform to condemn this pattern of horrendous rape because violence is a wrong choice and as the evidence shows, sexual violence can transmit the AIDS virus. Thus for the girls who have suffered this brutal and unacceptable treatment, there is a double jeopardy: first they have been raped, and then there is the possibility of their contracting HIV/AIDS. What this pattern of behaviour shows is that violence against women and girls continue unabated in our country as we hear a story of rape or defilement almost every day. In this latest wave of violence, what is even more worrying is the link of rape with torture. In this particular story, one of the girls has alleged that she was tortured while being raped. Thus, the reality of this situation is that the girls – the victims – are definitely terrified, in tears, with broken relationships, liable to be stigmatized in their communities, and the attendant ill- health and psychological damage to them is extensive and irreparable.
The men who have committed this crime belong in prison. But NETRIGHT is concerned that vested interests will once again ensure the denial of justice to these young girls in the attempt to protect the perpetrators who are alleged to belong to powerful institutions such as the military and the police. We therefore urge civil society and women’s groups to condemn this rape and to demand justice.

We therefore demand:
* The safety and security of the girls and their families to be ensured;
* The victims and their families be allowed to exercise their fundamental rights of legal counsel of their own choosing in all proceedings related to the case;
* To be provided all medical care required for their well-being
* To interact freely with women’s rights and human rights organisations
* An inquiry to be held to establish why the military and the police went to that particular house where the girls live
* All proceedings to be made transparent, allowing observers from women’s rights and human rights organisations and doctors’ associations;
* The names of the perpetrators be made public and those of the victims protected;
* Those who obstruct justice to be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.

NETRIGHT insists that the military and the police are supposed to protect women and men in the society. However in many situations such as this, gender-based violence is overlooked, often due to the lack of implementation of existing legislation or by its being seen as a private matter. Implementation and enforcement of legislation is vital but it is also necessary to put a stop to laws that emphasise family reunification over the rights of women and girls. The government has a responsibility to intervene when there is systematic and widespread gender-based violence. By identifying violence against women as a national security threat, it increases the chances of preventing wider conflicts at an early stage.

NETRIGHT also has the conviction that gender-equal participation at all levels of society is key in order to assure women and girls’ security. We would therefore like to reaffirm our support for the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security, and Ghana’s Domestic Violence Law (Act 732) and call for their full and immediate implementation to benefit women and girls.

Issued this day, November 27, 2009 at Accra.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin
Convenor

1 comment:

StandTall-The Activist said...

I will like to see 1325 in force. This is outrageous.