Sexual violence

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 May 1

Abla KotorAccording to the trokosi tradition practiced in southeastern Ghana, virgin girls are given to village priests as a way of appeasing the gods for crimes committed by family members. The word trokosi in the Ewe language means "slaves of the gods." Once given to the priest, a girl becomes his property and is made to carry out domestic chores such as cooking and washing, as well as farming and fetching water.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the officials listed below. Express your concern that thousands of trokosi are reportedly still held in shrines in spite of the 1998 law that prohibits the practice. Call on the government to take immediate steps to ensure that all trokosi are immediately released, and to make provision for their financial support, education, return to their families and re-integration into their communities. Urge the government to issue immediate instructions to police nationwide to enforce the law, and initiate legal prosecutions against shrines that have been holding trokosi in violation of the 1998 law.

His Excellency the President
Mr. J.A. Kufour
Office of the President
State House
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 676934

The Minister for Justice & Attorney General
Hon. Nana Akuffo Addo
Ministry of Justice & Attorney General's Dept.
P.O. Box M 60, Ministries
Accra, GHANA
Fax: +233 21 667609

Please also write to the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing concern over the apparent misrepresentation by the United States Government of the trokosi practice to the detriment of those working to end it. Ask him to take immediate action to correct this misrepresentation and to reaffirm that the trokosi practice is a severe human rights violation. Letters should be addressed to:

Secretary of State Colin Powell
US Department of State
Washington DC 20520, USA
Fax: +1 202 261 8577

Ghana: Legislation Enacted to Criminalize the Trokosi Tradition of Enslavement

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1999 Jan 1

On 12 June 1998, the Ghanaian Parliament passed an amendment to the Criminal Code, adding Section 314A which criminalizes customary or ritual enslavement of any kind. The new law, which was signed by the President in September 1998, provides:

(1) Whoever

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of Ghana, thanking him for his support of legislation to criminalize the trokosi practice. Urge him to take steps to ensure that the legislation is brought to the attention of local communities and that it accomplishes its purpose of ending the trokosi tradition. Please also request his intervention on behalf of Abla Kotor, to facilitate the efforts of International Needs for her liberation from the Awlo-Korti shrine. Letters should be sent to:

His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings
President of the Republic of Ghana
The Castle-Osu
Accra
GHANA

Slavery in Ghana: The Trokosi Tradition

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1998 Mar 1

Abla KotorAbla Kotor is 13 years old. At the age of 12, she was given to a local priest in atonement for the rape that resulted in her birth, the rape of her mother by her mother's uncle. As soon as Abla Kotor has completed three menstrual cycles, she too will almost certainly be raped, by the priest to whom she was given. Meanwhile, she works his fields and farmlands, cleans his home and cooks his meals.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the following Parliamentary officials in Ghana. Urge them to pass the legislation which has been introduced to criminalize the trokosi tradition and to take immediate action to ensure the release of all trokosi in Ghana and the protection of girls in the future from this tradition. Note that Ghana is a party to many international treaties which prohibit slavery in all forms, and that the Constitution of Ghana also prohibits slavery and forced labor. Letters should be sent to:

Chairperson of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Select
Committee
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

The Clerk of Parliament
Parliament House
Accra, Ghana

Chairperson of the Women's Caucus
Parliament of Ghana
Accra, Ghana

South Africa: Rape and Violence Against Women at the Durban Train Station

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1994 May 1

Regina Nyanda lives on the pavement of Umgeni Road, outside the Durban train station. She has been there for more than twenty years. Regina can hardly walk, and she suffers from epilepsy. During the day she sells used plastic chemical containers to make a living and to send money for her children to go to school.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the police officials listed below and call on them to provide effective protection for the women who live on the pavement of Umgeni Road outside the Durban train station. Ask them to institute a regular patrol, to investigate reports of rape and other violence, and to arrest those responsible. Please send copies of your letters to the South African embassy in your country and to President Nelson Mandela. Congratulate President Mandela as the first democratically elected president of South Africa and urge him to take action on behalf of the women at the Durban station, to demonstrate to the police and the public that the new South Africa will not tolerate rape and other violence against women and will give meaning to the right of equal protection of the law.

South African Police
District Commissioner
P.O. Box 10816
Durban 4000
South Africa
 
The Minister of Police
c/o The Commissioner of Police
Private Bag X94
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
 
President Nelson Mandela
Union Buildings
Pretoria
South Africa

Japan: The Death of Maricris Sioson

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1993 Dec 1

The case of Maricris Sioson—her life, her death, and the inaction of the Japanese government despite medical evidence of homicide - is a tragic illustration of the vulnerability of the tens of thousands of Filipino women working in Japan's entertainment industry.

What You Can Do: 

Please bring this case to the attention of the media and the general public. Contact the following Japanese authorities, and the Japanese embassy in your country, expressing your concern over the death of Maricris Sioson and the failure of the Japanese government to investigate the clear evidence that she died of unnatural causes. Call for an investigation of Maricris Sioson's death, and prosecution of those responsible, to demonstrate the commitment of the Japanese government to uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is done for Maricris Sioson and her family. Letters and petitions should be addressed to the following authorities:

Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto
Prime Minister
1-6-1 Nagata-cho
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

Mr. Eiichi Moriyama
Chief Prosecutor
Fukushima Local Prosecutors Office
(Chiho kensatuscho)
17 Kitsunezuka
960 Fukushima, Japan

Mr. Yukihiko Ikeda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2-2-1 Kasumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

Mr. Takaji Kunimatsu
Commissioner General
The National Police Agency
2-1-2 Kasumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, Japan

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina: The Failure to Arrest Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2001 Aug 1

There are rape camps all over the country. Thousands of women are being raped and killed. Thousands are pregnant as a result of rape. Over and over again, everywhere I went ... women told me stories of abomination--of being kept in a room, raped repeatedly and told they would be held until they gave birth to Serbian children. I heard stories of men being raped, of forced incest--fathers forced to rape daughters, brothers forced to rape sisters.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to General Joseph Ralston, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, calling on him to apprehend Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and turn them over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to stand trial for the crimes they are charged with. Please also write to the Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska, Mladen Ivanic, noting the recently-adopted legislation that approves co-operation with the ICTY and asking him to take steps to ensure the immediate arrest of Karadzic and Mladic.

General Joseph Ralston
Supreme Allied Commander for Europe
NATO Headquarters
1110 Brussels
BELGIUM

H.E. Mladen Ivanic
Prime Minister of Republika Srpska
Banja Luka
Republika Srpska
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Kosovo: Forced Removal, Rape, Genocide

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1999 Apr 1

A genocidal campaign of "ethnic cleansing" has displaced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. There have been steady reports of killings, forced removals, and burning of villages. Now the first report of rape has emerged—young ethnic Albanian women being raped by Yugoslav soldiers at an army training camp near the town of Dakovica and as many as twenty women killed. But rape is not a new weapon of war in the Serbian arsenal.

What You Can Do: 

Through the poster in this action, Equality Now hopes to highlight the fact that the atrocities which are occurring in Kosovo are being carried out under orders, and that there are individuals such as Slobodan Milosevic who are directly responsible for them. Distribute the poster as widely as possible and call on NATO to take immediate action to arrest indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and to be prepared to take immediate action to arrest Slobodan Milosevic if and when he is indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Appeals should be addressed to Dr. Javier Solana, the Secretary General of NATO, and General Wesley K. Clark, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, at NATO Headquarters, 1110 Brussels, Belgium.

WANTED
Slobodan Milosevic
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC
FOR MASS RAPE AND MURDER
IN KOSOVO

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Rape, Forced Removal, Genocide

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1995 Aug 1

On July 11, 1995, the town of Srebrenica was overrun and captured by Bosnian Serb forces. Srebrenica had been declared a "safe area" by the United Nations in the summer of 1993 and United Nations peacekeepers were stationed in Srebrenica when it fell to the Bosnian Serbs. Numerous atrocities were reported by fleeing refugees, mostly women, children and the elderly, who initially went to Potocari, where United Nations peacekeepers guided them to factory buildings for the night and assured them that they would be safe.

What You Can Do: 

Continue to use the poster below to highlight the ongoing atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina—get it published in local newspapers, put it on billboards, hand it out at public events. Send copies of ads or photos of the poster, or the poster itself, to your President, Prime Minister, elected representatives, and government officials responsible for foreign affairs, and to Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United Nations, New York, New York 10017. Call for immediate and effective action to stop the genocidal rape and killing in Bosnia-Herzegovina and call for international action to ensure the prompt arrest and trial of Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, and others indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal.

WANTED
Radovan Karadzic
RADOVAN KARADZIC
FOR MASS RAPE AND MURDER
IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass Rape, Forced Pregnancy, Genocide

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1994 Apr 1

In February 1993 Equality Now sent Feryal Gharahi, a Moslem lawyer and Vice-Chair of Equality Now, to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina where she documented the use of systematic mass rape and forced pregnancy as part of the Serbian genocidal "ethnic cleansing" policy. In June 1993 Feryal Gharahi returned to Croatia and travelled to the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina where she interviewed UNHCR officials, relief workers, and a number of recently arrived refugees.

What You Can Do: 

Use the poster on the reverse side of this page to highlight the ongoing atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina—get it published in local newspapers, put it on billboards, hand it out at public events. Send copies of ads or photos of the poster, or the poster itself, to your President, Prime Minister, elected representatives, and government officials responsible for foreign affairs, and to Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United Nations, New York, New York 10017. Call for immediate action to stop the genocidal rape and killing in Bosnia-Herzegovina and call for the swift prosecution of war criminals such as Radovan Karadzic by the International Tribunal.

WANTED

Radovan Karadzic

RADOVAN KARADZIC
FOR MASS RAPE AND MURDER
IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass Rape, Forced Pregnancy, Genocide

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1993 Jun 1

In February 1993, Equality Now sent Feryal Gharahi, a Muslim lawyer and Vice-Chair of Equality Now, to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she documented the use of systematic mass rape and forced pregnancy as part of the Serbian genocidal "ethnic cleansing" policy. In June 1993, Feryal Gharahi returned to Croatia and travelled to the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where she interviewed UNHCR officials, relief workers, and a number of recently arrived refugees.

What You Can Do: 

Use the poster below to highlight the ongoing atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina—get it published in local newspapers, put it on billboards, hand it out at public events. Send copies of ads or photos of the poster, or the poster itself, to your President, Prime Minister, elected representatives, and government officials responsible for foreign affairs, and to the Secretary General of the United Nations, New York, New York 10017. Call for immediate action to stop the genocidal rape and killing in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Try to send the poster and other messages of protest directly to Radovan Karadzic by fax at 38-11-235-1213.

WANTED

Radovan Karadzic

RADOVAN KARADZIC
FOR MASS RAPE AND MURDER
IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

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