Mr Alhassan Samari, Upper East Regional Minister, on Thursday condemned the spate of violence against women in the Region.

He described the phenomenon as a serious abuse of the rights of women, which would not be countenanced by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (UERCC)

Mr Samari said as part of efforts to ensure its elimination, the UERCC has been working in close collaboration with various institutions in the Region to promote the welfare of women and children.

He expressed the concern in an address read on his behalf by Mr Kasim Mejida, Public Relations Officer of the UERCC, at the launch of a report on research work on Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS in Bolgatanga.

It was organised by Action Aid Ghana (AAG) and sponsored by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Representatives of various associations of People Living With HIV/AIDS, NGOs seeking the welfare of women and children, chiefs and public servants attended the forum.

The research is to highlight the vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS as a result of the violence they encounter to facilitate policy formation and implementation as well as service delivery that would mitigate such vulnerability.

Mr Samari noted that Ghana had come to appreciate that there was the need for immediate adjustments, especially the need to remove all bottlenecks such as cultural practices that militated against the well being of women.

He said there was an urgent need for individuals, institutions and agencies to mobilise resources in the campaign for equal rights and fairness to women.

Mr Gregory Dery, an official of AAG, and a facilitator said the objective of the project was to reduce violence against women which play a critical role in exposing them to HIV/AIDS infection in line with the United Nations declaration on Violence Against Women through innovative work in the communities which were mostly affected.

He said even though there had been several researches conducted into the issue of violence against women, determinants of HIV/AIDS infections and also its management, there was not enough evidence to show that policies and programmes on the pandemic had begun to address violence against women.

Mr Dery said two districts each from the three Northern Regions were randomly selected for the work and added that critical analysis of the research indicated that the various communities were mainly regulated by religious and cultural norms more than they relied on constitutional laws.

He said in such circumstances violence against women was invariably an accepted practice and mentioned forced marriage, rape, cruel and harmful widowhood rites, female genital mutilation and property dispossession as some practices which were overlooked at the community level.

Source: GNA

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