Update to Response to Information Request GHA9880 of 11 June 1993 on Jehovah's Witnesses, and on any evidence of mistreatment of members of the Jehovah's Witnesses by the authorities and by other persons [GHA19412.E]

In a 10 February 1995 telephone interview with a history professor who specializes in African history and religions at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the professor said that Jehovah's Witnesses in Ghana had political problems in the late 1980s with the former Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), arising from the group's refusal to pay any respects to the state. However, since the law freezing the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Ghana was withdrawn in 1991, there has been no evidence of mistreatment of Jehovah's Witnesses by the Ghanaian authorities. The same source said that he was not aware of any other persons or groups who mistreat Jehovah's Witnesses in Ghana. During a telephone interview with a journalist with the London-based New African on 10 February 1995, the journalist agreed with the information provided above by the James Madison professor regarding Jehovah's Witnesses in Ghana. The journalist added that Ghanaian society is traditionally tolerant of religious differences. Notwithstanding the PNDC's confrontation with some religious groups in the late 1980s, the practice of mistreating persons on the basis of their religious beliefs is still alien to Ghanaian society.

In a telephone interview on 10 February 1995 with a representative of the Watch Tower and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) in Brooklyn, New York, the representative agreed with the information provided by the above-cited sources regarding the treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses in Ghana. This representative added that, even at the height of the faith's problems with the Ghanaian authorities between 1989 and 1991, the members were not mistreated by the Ghanaian authorities.

For general information regarding religious expression in Ghana in 1993, please refer to page 115 of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, which is currently available at Regional Documentation Centres.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB 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.


Journalist with the New African, London. 10 February 1995. Telephone interview.

Professor of history and comparative religions specializing in African history and religions, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va. 10 February 1995. Telephone interview.

Watch Tower and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses), World Headquarters, Brooklyn, NY. 10 February 1995. Telephone interview with representative.