The Deputy Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC), Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba says her Ministry is under-resourced to disband witches camps in the country.
Hajia Gariba indicated that the witches camps serve as a ?safe haven? for the alleged witches who have been outlawed from their communities.
The Deputy Minister?s comment is an apparent response to ActionAid Ghana, a human rights advocacy organization which has blamed the Ministry of Women and Children?s Affairs for the increasing numbers of witches camps across the country.
ActionAid also reminded the MOWAC of its promise to close down the witch camps since according them the incarceration and confinement of the women is an infringement of their human rights.
But the Deputy Women and Children?s Affairs Minister in an interview with Citi FM opined that the witches camps would be maintain until the MOWAC gets adequate shelter and other resources to accommodate the women who have been ostracized from their communities.
She said a total closure of the witches camps is a process which requires adequate support from all civil society groups like ActionAid Ghana to complement the Ministry?s effort.
Hajia Gariba added that since the allege witches are mostly elderly women who could hardly fend for themselves, MOWAC has been liaising with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to provide relief items in the form of food and clothing to inhabitants of the camps.
She observed that the focus should be much more on education of the chiefs and opinion leaders in the communities in the Northern Region to disabuse their minds about the perception that the women are witches.
The Deputy Minister of MOWAC said even though the Ministry together with its partners have done a lot of sensitization and advocacy programmes to quicken the pace of the reintegration of the alleged witches into their communities, the process remains a challenge.
Notwithstanding, Hajia Gariba noted that MOWAC in collaboration with other stakeholders are working assiduously to disband all witch camps in Ghana and called on community leaders and traditional authorities to provide the needed support for a successful exercise.
Witches camps are secluded villages without where women suspected of witchcraft are forced to move there in order to separate them from the rest of the community.
There are currently six alleged witches camps located in the Northern Regions with over 3000 women and children residing there. Most of these camps have no amenities like water and health facilities.