The Country Director for Amnesty International Ghana has said government is not interested in providing forms of social protection for the vulnerable; the elderly and children.

Robert Amanfo said that the responsibility to protect such victims especially in the case of children’s right to education, right to play, for example, according to the Children’s Act 1998 (590), falls on the government.

These groups of society fall victim to social and cultural practices like that which is revealed in JoyNews’ latest documentary, ‘Serving the Witches’, where children are forced to live with and take care of a grandparent who has been accused of witchcraft. 

The documentary interrogates the idea for the practice, the people who enforce the practice and who is responsible in protecting the rights of the people affected, especially the children.

“It’s the district social welfare departments that are given the responsibility to ensure that these children are safe. They are supposed to ensure every child is protected by law,” he stressed. 

“They are given specific mandates in the Children’s Act. The documentary doesn’t only show the plight of the children but the socio-economic condition of the people; the water, the food; the elderly people, how Ghana is taken care of its elderly. 

“That is a clear picture that is laid out there and it’s the responsibility of our government to ensure that all these people mentioned; the children and the elderly – the most vulnerable people in our whole community are protected from harm,” according to the 1992 Constitution, he added. 

Mr Amanfo added that since government has been given a “social contract to ensure that they protect the weakest in society”, it is their prime responsibility to put in place support systems that will protect people from falling victim.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show, Monday,

Those who are most affected by the practice, come from low-income households, the documentary disclosed. 

“It is a responsibility of people in government to put in place social support systems that will protect all these people from falling into such instances by providing housing, providing water, and all the systems that will ensure that our weakest in the society are not left behind.

For me, the only way these things [fighting the practice] will work is only when there are systems and structures that work.”