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   Frontpage Feature - Introduction
Culture, Gender and Human Rightspdf print preview send to friend
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The essence of the colloquium was to bring to the fore issues of Culture and Gender that affect Human Rights particularly of women and children in our society with a view to amending or completely eliminating such practices if possible through legislation to ensure better life and society devoid of Human Rights abuses in the name of Culture and Gender.
 
The Colloquium was to examine how Culture promotes Gender and Human Rights in our society.  Indeed, so important was the Colloquium that it attracted many people including Gender and Human Rights activists who shared in the deliberation of the participants. 
 
Culture they say is people's way of life demonstrated in their belief systems, practices, traditions and values in an attempt to fashion a harmonious co-existence with the environment.  It is generally acknowledged that culture is dynamic.  This means that our cultural practices over the years can be modified, to suit modern trends and contemporary world situation.
 
Unfortunately, there are a lot of our cultural practices especially in the rural areas which have not seen any change or modification since the beginning of time.  This is certainly not good enough for our society which has been at the fore front of many international seminars championing the cause of Human Rights. Ghana is recognized as one of the first countries to have signed the United Nations conventions on the Right of the child. 
 
One particular cultural practice which is widely practiced in Ghana is Widowhood rites. For instance one questions the essence of confining a seventy year old widow to a dark solitary room and made to undergo all kinds of rituals for a number of days.
 
There are many more of such cultural practices which need to be addressed. It was against this background that the National Commission on Culture organized the Colloquium to brainstorm on the issue and adopt relevant measures to check the cancer.
 
Culture, it is argued should be a medium for liberation and not enslavement.
 
Over the years, the National Commission on Culture has demonstrated its commitment towards the elimination of all forms of socio-cultural practices that abuse the rights of the individual.
 
The Commission has been able to organize seminars and workshops particularly for traditional rulers whose contribution towards the elimination of these obnoxious practices can not be ignored.
 
It suffices to say that some of these practices also invariably promote the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. For instance it is alleged that women who are accused of witchcraft have their hair shaved with one razor blade. This is certainly not a healthy practice and must be avoided.
 
It was refreshing to note that the traditional rulers who attended the colloquium pledged to work assiduously to eliminate all forms of socio-cultural practices which, are violation of the rights of women and children especially, in their respective traditional areas.
 
It must be acknowledged that the National Commission on Culture and for that matter the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture alone cannot single handedly fight this socio-cultural problems. It needs the concerted and collective efforts of all.
 
The Centres for National Culture, Municipal and District Assemblies, Religious Bodies, the Media and all relevant stakeholders have a role to play.
 
It is time we all put our hands together to bury once and for all, these practices.
 
 
Yes culture must be preserved but certainly not those that affect the Human Rights of others.
By Nelson Kofi Akatey,
Public Relations Officer,
National Commission on Culture.
 
 
Page 2 of 21 2 
 
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