Some 55 alleged witches, camped at Bonyasi, a community in the Central Gonja District were on Monday reintegrated into their families to start a new life in their communities.
The women who are aged between 48 and 90 years had been accused of witchcraft and banished from their various communities to live in the Bonyasi Witches’ camp with some children and grandchildren to serve them.
The disbandment of the Bonyasi witches’ camp is the first step in working to disband all witches’ camps in the Northern Region and to reintegrate the alleged witches with their families to live dignified live, while children who were serving the alleged witches would have the chance to attend school.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with ActionAid and other local NGOs spearheaded the reintegration with a formal event held at Bonyasi and was finalized with the disbandment of the camp.
Dr Hussein Zakaria, Chairman of the Committee for reintegration of alleged witches said the alleged witches sought refuge at the camps to avoid maltreatment and lynching from community members.
He said most of the women had lived in the camp for several years with their children and grandchildren who were perpetually banished for no wrong done and had no access to education.
Dr Hussein expressed gratitude to the traditional authorities in the District for their contribution towards the final closure of the camp after the departure of the last three inmates.
He said the other alleged witches’ camps across the country had also been identified and all the necessary preparations were underway to reunite the alleged witches there with their families and communities.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said women were the backbone of society who needed care and social support to ensure that they contributed their quota towards development.
She said the alleged witches needed to be empowered so that they could also enjoy their basic rights and participate in decision making, which would enable them to contribute towards the development of their communities.
She urged stakeholders to continuously partner with the government to disband the known witches’ camps and reintegrate the inmates with their families, communities and loved ones to enable them enjoy their basic human rights.
She said it was unacceptable for human beings to undergo dehumanized process on assumption that they were witches without establishing proof of guilt and assured that her outfit would continue to dialogue with traditional leaders and stakeholders to disband the remaining camps.