Geneva, Oct. 25, GNA – The 59th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) grilled Ghana for about five hours on efforts adopted to eliminate discrimination against women, on Friday.
The 15- member committee questioned Ghana on practical steps to promote basic human rights, education, delays in the passage of the Spousal Bill, the Witches Camp, acquisition of land, widowhood rights, prostitution, National Health Insurance Scheme, gender statistics and women’s participation in governance.
The committee members expressed concern about the persistence of polygamous marriage, discriminatory inheritance systems, and also noted the lack of recognition and value placed on women’s work in rural areas.
They said they would have welcomed more statistics on changes in the de facto situation of women and infrastructure.
Other issues also related to efforts towards bringing Ghanaian laws and policies in line with ending discrimination against women; and measures to uphold women’s equality in the political, social, economic, and cultural fields.
The rest of the issues focused on Women in Agriculture, Interstate Succession Law, and the delays in promulgating the Legislative Instruments to the Domestic Violence Act and the Anti-Human Trafficking Act.
The medical bills of domestic violence victims and strategic plans for implementation of domestic violence were also discussed.
The committee suggested that the country should have a comprehensive plan in dealing with the witches camp issues.
Ghana’s delegations, lead by Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, took turns to systematically explain the issues raised by CEDAW and also offered to provide additional information and statistics.
In her concluding remarks, Nana Oye Lithur said Ghana would ensure full compliance, adequate budgetary allocation, and looked forward to addressing their observations.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, after the review meeting, Ms. Nicole Ameline, CEDAW Chairperson, however, commended Ghana for the progress made towards complying with the CEDAW Conventions and Protocols.
The Committee expressed its appreciation for Ghana’s speedy ratification of the Convention, its frank and comprehensive report thus giving a clear picture of the real situation of women in Ghana, as well as for outlining the obstacles to the improvement of their status.
Ms Ameline said efforts made by Ghana to overcome discrimination and the priority given to health; education and changing attitudes were praised worthy, especially in the light of the difficult prevailing economic challenges.
Reinforcement strategies and the visibility of the implementation of the Convention, she said, were of major concern to the committee, but generally, Ghana was doing well.
The CEDAW Chairperson said the committee would within the next few days submit its general concluding observations to Ghana.
In June 2012, Ghana submitted its Sixth and Seventh Consolidated Periodic Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
After reviewing the report, the Committee made some observations and raised them as list of issues to be answered by the Government of Ghana.
The report provides concise responses to the matters raised by the Committee.
The report, however, is not limited to those issues raised by the Committee, but also highlights significant efforts made in addressing important needs and concerns of women in Ghana within the reporting period.
It provides comprehensive insights into steps taken to strengthen the legislative framework, policies and implementation plans and programmes aimed at enabling women to realize their potentials.
Other countries scheduled to appear before CEDAW to defend their gender records before the world body are Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, China, Guinea, Poland, Solomon Islands, and Venezuela.
The CEDAW review meeting, which started on October 20, is expected to end on November 7.