Regional News of Friday, 1 June 2012
The Ghana Baptist Convention has inaugurated women rights advocacy groups in three Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Ketu Municipal, Ketu South and North Tong District Assemblies in the Volta Region.
The schools are Anglo-Afiadenyigba SHS, Klikor SHS and Mafi- Kumasi SHS, and they are aimed at equipping students with advocacy skills against discriminatory practices and create awareness of infringements of women rights such as Trokosi and Female Genital Mutilation.
Mr. Jervis Djoko, Director of the Baptist Reliefs and Development Agency (BREDA), said a manual was designed for the students to follow which would aid them to play the role of Human Rights activist as students.
He said the students would be engaged in outreach programmes in the communities to advocate and promote women rights and also wipe out bad cultural practices saying “earlier workshops were organized for executive members of the groups on how to use the manual in their various outreach communities.”
Mr. Gilbert T. Adzraku, Ketu South District Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said every person was entitled to the standards or conditions necessary for living decent life, and that human rights was a basic entitlement that protects the ability to satisfy basic needs with dignity and respect.
He said human rights was universally recognized as fundamental to the dignity of individuals and that the foundation of all human rights was the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, “these rights prescribe how individuals or Governments should behave.”
Mr. Adzaraku said Article 12(i) of the 1992 Constitution requires not only the organs and functionaries of government to respect fundamental human rights guaranteed in the constitution, but requires natural and legal persons to respect and uphold the rights guaranteed.
Mr. Carlos Quaye, North Tong Director of CHRAJ, said violations of women rights that was occasioned by cultural practices was abuses of human rights, yet many of our cultural practices infringes on the rights of women and children.
He said customary laws that govern family inheritance and marriage, adversely affect women’s access to land, even in areas where in theory every member of a community can acquire land, and added that only men are afforded the opportunity to acquired land.
Mr. Quaye said marriages that were performed under duress and without the full and informed consent of or free will of both parties, was forced marriage and that the children Act of 1990 defines the minimum age of marriage for all citizens as 18 years.
He said women’s biological role as bearers of children has created inequalities between them and men and that women in many cultures was considered the property of their husband or male relatives, and their role in society was considered principally as child bearing instruments.
The North Tong District Director of Education, Mr. Jonathan K. A. Ganyo said the advent of democracy and the rule of law guaranteed under the 1992 constitution have given rise to human rights activist and stakeholders to question the usefulness of some cultural practices in the development of human society.
He said Ghana’s cultural values unite Ghanaians and reveal the origin and shape of our vision as one people and guide our future.**