The Relevance of National and International Laws for the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in Ghana: A Critical Look at the Trokosi System in Ghana

10 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2010  

Nicholas A. Bastine

York University, Canada - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: October 5, 2010

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that the rights of women and children are not being protected effectively in Ghana. It argues that although Ghana has laws such as the 1992 Constitution, a number of international human rights laws that Ghana had ratified to protect the rights of women and children, and the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 1998, trokosi which discriminates against women and children is being practiced in the country. The paper attempts to answer why: (a) Ghanaian women and children continue to be oppressed in spite of Ghana’s robust domestic and international laws that protect them? (b) the government does not enforce the trokosi law?, and (c) the 1992 Constitution has not been effective in eliminating violence against women and children Ghana? The paper anchors the trokosi practice in the paradigms of cultural relativism and universalism, and discusses the (i) presence of a strong patriarchal framework and the family structure which favours men over women in Ghana, the (ii) the secrecy of traditional religious practices, particularly, the trokosi rituals; (iii) the possible irrelevance of international conventions to Ghana’s cultural and political situation; and (iv) the internal dynamics of Ghanaian politics. The paper concludes that trokosism persists in Ghana because of the conflict between culture and religious norms on the one hand and positive laws on the other.

Keywords: Gender inequality, religion, human rights, culture, and positive law

Suggested Citation

Bastine, Nicholas A., The Relevance of National and International Laws for the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in Ghana: A Critical Look at the Trokosi System in Ghana (October 5, 2010). OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 1, No. 10, pp. 81-90, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1687646

Nicholas A. Bastine (Contact Author)

York University, Canada - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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