Skeptic News: The witch camps of Ghana

From: Daily Mail

Living in squalor and sentenced to a life of shame and hard labour, these are the women who have been forced to live as outcasts amid accusations that they are witches. Cut off from their communities and abandoned by their families, they are banished to spend the rest of their days in ‘witch camps’.

Hundreds of women in northern Ghana are accused of witchcraft and condemned to a life of extreme violence, harassment and isolation.

Many of the women in the camps have been accused of being witches by relatives or neighbours. Once an accusation is made they are banished from their villages and sometimes chased out by a violent mob.

Often young female relatives are sent with them to live in the camp as an ‘attendant’ and also live in the same appalling conditions, facing terrible discrimination.

In some cases, the fate of the women is determined not by the elders of their village, but by the dying contortions of a slaughtered chicken.

A report from Action Aid, titled ‘Condemned without trial: women and witchcraft in Ghana’, describes six ‘witch’ camps’ in Northern Ghana, Gambaga, Kukuo, Gnani, Bonyase, Nabuli and Kpatinga. Some camps came in to existence as long as 100 years ago and mostly consist of mud huts. Women in the camps have to walk many miles to collect water, food is in short supply health and education services are very limited. ActionAid says the camps are effectively women’s prisons where the inmates have been given no trial, have no right of appeal, but have received a life sentence.

The report highlights the violence suffered by women accused of witchcraft.

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