In December, 2015, four months ago, The Carter Center was involved in convening the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Forum, entitled “Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls”. The forum was held in Accra, Ghana.
In 2012 and 2014, I visited the Gambaga Witch Camp in Gambaga, Ghana. I discovered a camp in which over 200 women live who have been banned from their homes and communities and have been labeled as a witch. These women are mostly seniors who no longer served a purpose in their local villages. Through a process carried out by their local village priest they are convicted or exonerated of the charge. The process from determining their fate as a witch is an old traditional practice that violates all human rights. The process involves a chicken whose head is cut off, and it depends whether the chicken dies belly up or down as to whether the woman is guilty.
The Carter Center is addressing the ways in which detrimental traditional practices are harming women and children. The declaration that came out of the Forum is a huge step in working with the local Imams in an effort to change these harmful practices.
Education and dialogues are key to change.