Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights rooted in gender inequality, discrimination and social norms. The implementing partners of the European Union-funded consortium project, Enough!, join fellow Ghanaians in condemning the public lynching and murder of Madam Akua Denteh. We reiterate the need for zero tolerance towards sexual and gender-based violence and call on duty bearers to defend the human rights of all women and girls in Ghana.
As partners of the Enough! project, we condemn the lynching and tragic murder of 90-year-old Madam Akua Denteh, at Kafaba in the Savannah Region on July 23 2020 and join in solidarity our fellow Ghanaians who stand up to say Enough! to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Not only do we call on the police to make sure justice is swift in the arrest of alleged perpetrators in the case of Madam Akua Denteh, we also call on duty bearers to protect all victims of gender-based violence and ensure they have access to gender sensitive justice. We further encourage traditional leaders and communities to promote positive social norms that reject violence against women and girls, develop action plans and structures that prevent gender-based violence and hold perpetrators accountable.
In Ghana, witchcraft accusations, other harmful traditional and religious practices, and the consequent persecutions of those accused, showcase the acceptance of violence against vulnerable and marginalized persons, including women, the aged, and children. Such actions result in violations of the human rights of the victims, which can range from banishment, physical harassment to outright murder. The pervasiveness of these practices is rooted in negative social norms and harmful traditional practices that normalize the use of violence against women in Ghana. The damaging repercussions of these negative perceptions and beliefs, if left unaddressed, is unimaginable.
Ghana has made considerable strides in addressing violence against women and girls, guaranteeing the rights of every citizen in the Constitution and in other national legal instruments. As Ghana has also ratified and domesticated various African and UN Human Rights Instruments1, we are obligated as a state to take measures to ensure the respect, protection, promotion and realization of those rights for every Ghanaian. However, this horrific crime highlights the disconnect that often exists between laws and policies to protect victims of SGBV and the realities that victims and survivors experience as a result of harmful practices that perpetuate gender-based violence.
About the Enough Project
Oxfam in Ghana and WiLDAF Ghana are implementing a multi-country European Union-funded consortium project, Enough! to empower women, girls, boys and men in Mali, Liberia and Ghana to take positive action to end SGBV and claim their rights to a life free from fear and violence. The project’s dual mandate is to support local civil society organisations (CSO’s) and women’s groups to combat gender-based violence and meet the needs of women and girls who experience violence and challenge harmful social norms and practices that perpetuate gender-based violence. In Ghana, 11 partner organisations are being supported with funds totaling close to one (1) million euros over the duration of the project to implement activities in the Greater Accra, Bono, Northern, Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.
We believe that every Ghanaian has a role to play in creating a society free from all forms of violence. By challenging gender stereotypes, harmful traditional practices and discrimination, being allies to women and their organisations, supporting the mobilisation, ideas and efforts of local organisations and building on best practices of what works in violence prevention, we can create lasting change to improve the lives of women and girls.