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General News of Friday, 8 March 2013

Source: ActionAid

Forced marriage, witchcraft accusations must end

Marriage by abduction, witchcraft accusations and violence against women must end, says Action Ghana as it calls for the government to enforce laws to protect women on International Women's Day.

The international NGO says that marriage by abducation of girls under the legal marrying age of 18 is a form of violence still prevalent in most parts of Northern Ghana but the Legislative Instrument (LI) that is necessary to make the DV Act 732 (2007) fully operational is not in place.

"Abduction is a negative cultural practice whereby young girls in their teens are forced into marriage against their will. This practice, apart from denying girls their right to education, is illegal as it breaches their freedom to associate and also violates the law which sets the marriageable minimum age at 18 years," said the charity in a statement released today.

AAG says it has been working with relevant government institutions, traditional and opinion leaders, and women’s groups to eliminate it. The charity says ending violence has many challenges including attitudes, beliefs and cultural practices and actions which have perpetuated violence against women and girls for a long time.

AAG has made headway in the fight against witchcraft accusations and the inhuman conditions that women suffer in the alleged witches’ camps and helped form Committee on Reintegration and Disbandment of Alleged Witches’ Camps.

The charity says it is committed to working together with all parties to ensure that the roadmap to the reintegration and disbandment of all witches’ camps is followed and all activities in the plan implemented successfully.