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TROKOSI: Ghana still keeping slaves in 2003 (Sly)

Author:
Young Bajan
Date:
2003-01-01 19:18:00


This one is dedicated to Sly, who was kind enough to take time out and send me his best wishes for the New Year...

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/sil2/r.php?num=1&id=594979&thread=593741

Stupid African bitch.

(That was just for openers... There's plenty more where that came from.)

Stupidity is a common trait.

Nuff Respect, Young Bajan.

And now for tonight's main course...

GHANA: Still keeping slaves in 2003

http://www.usis.usemb.se/human/1996/africa/ghana.html

United States Embassy Stockholm

Country Reports on Human Rights

Practices for 1996

Released by the Bureau of Democracy,

Human Rights, and Labor

U.S. Department of State

GHANA

30 January 1997

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability, language, or social status. The courts are specifically empowered to enforce these prohibitions, although enforcement by the authorities is generally inadequate, in part due to limited financial resources.

Women

Violence against women, including rape and wife beating, remains a significant problem. These abuses usually go unreported and seldom come before the courts. The police tend not to intervene in domestic disputes. However, the media increasingly report cases of assault and rape. Women's groups have not yet raised the issue of domestic violence with the Government.

Women continue to experience societal discrimination. Women in urban centers and those with skills and training encounter little overt bias, but resistance to women in nontraditional roles persists. Few women enter college. Women, especially in rural areas, remain subject to burdensome labor conditions and traditional male dominance. Traditional practices and social norms often deny women their inheritances and property, a legally registered marriage (and with it, certain legal rights), and the maintenance and custody of children, all provided for by statute.

Women's rights groups are active in educational campaigns and in programs to provide vocational training, legal aid, and other support to women. The Government is also active in educational programs, and the President and First Lady are among the most outspoken advocates of women's rights. Although there has been no concrete policy change on the national level, the 1995 United Nations Conference on Women and the resulting platform for action generated widespread positive discussion about the status of women in Ghana.

Children

Within the limits of its resources, the Government is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of children. There is little or no discrimination against females in education, but girls and women frequently drop out of school due to societal or economic pressures. Statistics show that from grades 1 to 6, 45 of every 100 pupils are girls; from grades 7 to 9, this number drops to 41. In the grades equivalent to high school (grades 10 to 12), the number of girls drops to 33 per 100 students, and drops even further to 25 per 100 students at the university level.

There are several traditional discriminatory practices that are injurious to female health and development. In particular, female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is a serious problem. According to one study, the percentage of women who have undergone this procedure may be as high as 30 percent, although most observers believe 15 percent to be more accurate. FGM is practiced mostly in Muslim communities in the far northeastern and northwestern parts of the country. As of 1994, FGM became a criminal act, and at least one practitioner and an accomplice were arrested during the year. Officials at all levels have been vocal in publicly speaking out against the practice of FGM, and a local NGO is making some inroads through its educational campaigns to encourage abandonment of FGM.

Trokosi, a traditional practice found among the Ewe ethnic group and primarily in the Volta region, is an especially severe abuse and a flagrant violation of children's and women's rights. It is a system in which a young girl, usually under the age of l0, is made a slave to a fetish shrine for offenses allegedly committed by a member of the girl's family. The belief is that if someone in that family has committed a crime, such as stealing, members of the family may begin to die in large numbers unless a young girl is given to the local fetish shrine to atone for the offense. The girl becomes the property of the fetish priest, must work on the priest's farm, and perform other labors for him. Because they are the sexual property of the priests, most trokosi slaves have children by him. Although the girls' families must provide for their needs, such as food, most are unable to do so. There are at least 4,500 girls and women bound to various shrines in the trokosi system, a figure that does not include the slaves' children. Even if released, generally without skills or hope of marriage, a trokosi woman has continued obligations to the shrine for the duration of her life. When the fetish slave dies, the family is expected to replace her with another young girl for the fetish shrine.

Although the Constitution outlaws slavery, Parliament has yet to pass a law explicitly prohibiting trokosi. The practice persists because of deeply entrenched traditional beliefs, and it is therefore unlikely that any legislative prohibition alone would eliminate the practice. Nevertheless, a local NGO has had some success in approaching village authorities and fetish priests and winning their confidence with the ultimate objective of securing the release of the trokosi slaves. There were 3 ceremonies where a total of over 120 trokosi women and girls were released through the efforts of this NGO, and the organization is working for additional releases.

Another traditional practice that violates the rights of children is forced childhood marriages. The prostitution of female children exists, despite its illegality.

[This is an authentic posting from (Registered User)]
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