<![CDATA[[caption id="attachment_41688" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Otiko Afisa Djaba[/caption] Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba says she is appalled by the acts of violence meted out against a 27-year-old lady for allegedly stealing in Kumasi. The lady, accused of allegedly stealing unspecified amount of money, is captured in a video being stripped naked, beaten and having some men insert their feet and fingers in her genitals. Speaking in an exclusive interview with 3FM’s Mercy A. Catherine Adjabeng, the Gender Minister said the act is dehumanizing and doesn’t reflect the ideals of the Ghanaian society. “I’m appalled at the video that I saw; to think that Ghana is going to be 60years in a matter of days and a woman has been treated with such contempt and indignity in this day and age really beats my understanding. “I really want to condemn this barbaric and cruel act that took away the dignity and self-esteem of this young lady. “In this country we live by the rule of law. If anyone commits a crime, it’s not for any vigilante to decide how they’ll judge; we believe per the law that you are innocent until proven guilty. Can you imagine everybody had to take matters into their own hands,” she asked. Calling the situation as worrying, the Gender Minister, noted that the incident showed the Ghanaian society was gradually becoming intolerant. “According to the narration she is alleged to have stolen some amount of money, but that’s an allegation. Even if it were true, it’s not up to anybody to pronounce judgment in the dehumanizing way she was treated. “The beating, prodding and humiliation she suffered is not like the Ghanaian society that I know. Ghanaians are loving and respectful to our mothers and sisters and women are the most vulnerable so this is an atrocity against womankind. “And all these men kicking her private parts with their shoes and hands and all the things that were done to her is degrading to say the least. “It’s unacceptable and wrong that society is gradually becoming intolerant and that’s a worrying trend.” Madam Otiko Djaba indicated the Ministry was liaising with the Police to ensure justice was served. “The ministry is working with the police to investigate and ensure justice because apart from the psychological impact the incident can have on the victim, it is a complete violation of her right and an act of criminal and social injustice.” Asked if the incident could be blamed on the failure of institutions and established systems to enforce law and order, Otiko Djaba indicated it was a wakeup call for the Gender Ministry to ensure aggressive advocacy and concerted efforts towards the protection of rights as well as the maintenance of law and order in the Ghanaian society. “As a Ministry, we can’t do it alone; we need to work together with other sectors and agencies to education the citizenry about the effect of these vigilante acts. Ghana is part of the global community and we’ve signed onto several Protocols, Conventions and Treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, (CEDAW) so it’s not in our interest to be seen to be treating our citizens particularly women in such undignified manner. “It boils down to attitudinal change; we must therefore embark on aggressive advocacy and adapt different forms of communication strategies and platforms from the community through to the national level. We must also engage various stakeholders including Traditional authorities, Civil Society and Community Based Organizations and other Actors towards attitudinal change. People must understand and live by the principle that you follow due process when you feel aggrieved or are unhappy about issues.” The Minister urged all and sundry to be more patient, tolerant and use use laid down procedures to address grievances in order “to progress together, respecting and protecting the rights of both men and women”. The video has since gone viral on social media. Meanwhile gender activists and human rights advocates have also demanded that the perpetrators be brought to book swiftly.