Whether men are accused of being witches; whether this happens to youths and young men up until their mid-twenties; results of such accusations; protection available; possibility of relocation within Ghana to avoid accusers [GHA38051.E]

According to an article published by Gendercide Watch, eight men in Accra were accused of using witchcraft to snatch penises, Reuters reported on 17 January 1996. Mobs allegedly attacked the men, killing two and seriously wounding the other six.

An article in Ghana Focus reported that there were 13 men accused of being wizards living in Nagani, one of the four camps in northern Ghana where those accused of witchcraft are confined (27 Oct. 1997). This information is corroborated by Country Reports 2000, which reported that 802 women and 13 men "were found to be living in witches' villages" in the Northern Region (2001, section 5). The ages of the inmates in these camps are between 35 and 90 (ibid.; Ghana Focus 27 Oct. 1997).

A BBC report on traditional religions in Africa states that people accused of being witches in Africa are usually women (n.d.).

In Ghana, those accused of witchcraft who are not lynched or beaten to death are banished to penal "witch villages" in the Northern Region (Ghana Focus 27 Oct. 1997; SAPA 13 Apr. 2001; Country Reports 2000 2001, section 5). While they are not legally obligated to remain in the villages, most fear for their lives if they were to leave, and, as they have been exiled from their homes, they often remain in the camps for the rest of their lives (ibid.; Ghana Focus 27 Oct. 1997).

Although information on the protection available specifically to men accused of witchcraft was not found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the BBC reported that the camps in northern Ghana act as a sort of refuge for the alleged witches. In one sense they are prisoners, but there they are protected from their accusers (n.d.). In 1998 Parliament passed legislation that amended the 1960 Criminal Code to provide additional protection for women and children (Country Reports 2000 2001, section 5). One of the provisions of this new legislation protects women accused of witchcraft (ibid.), however, further information about this protection was not available from the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Attached please find an Associated Press article that provides background information on the situation of those accused of witchcraft in Ghana.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


BBC World Service. n.d. "The Story of Africa: Traditional Religions." http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/6chapter2.shtml [Accessed 5 Nov. 2001]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. 2001. United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfm?docid=803 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2001]

Ghana Focus [Accra]. 27 October 1997. "Ghana's Human Rights Body Condemn Treatment of Witches." (NEXIS)

Gendercide Watch. 1999-2000. Adam Jones. "Case Study: The European Witch-Hunts, c. 1450-1750 and Witch-Hunts Today." http://www.gendercide.org/case_witchhunts.html [Accessed 5 November 2001]

South Africa Press Association (SAPA). 13 April 2001. "Witch-Hunt Continues in Ghana." http://news.24.com/News24/Africa/West_Africa/0,1113,2-11-998_1010531,00.html [Accessed 6 Nov. 2001]


Associated Press. 1997. Tim Sullivan. "Ghana Town Shields Accused Witches."

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/3413/ghana.html" [Accessed 6 Nov. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases



US Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 1999.


Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Government of Ghana Website

Human Rights Watch