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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:International human rights, religious pluralism and the future of chieftaincy in Ghana
Author:Atiemo, Abamfo O.
Periodical:Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:African religions
freedom of religion
social conflicts
legal pluralism
human rights
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/157254306780016140
Abstract:A revolutionary development that resulted from Africa's experience of colonialism was the emergence of the nation-State made up of previously separate ethnic States. By the end of the colonial period the rulers of these ethnic States - the chiefs - had lost most of their real political and judicial powers to the political leaders of the new nation-States. But in spite of the loss of effective political power the chiefs continued to wield moral influence over members of their ethnic groups. The limited reach of the nation-State in the postcolonial era has also meant a dependence on the chiefs for aspects of local governance. This, for example, is the case in Ghana. However, in the modern context of religious pluralism the intimate bond between the chiefs and the traditional religion exacerbates tension in situations of conflict between people's loyalty to the traditional State and their religious commitment. In some cases, chiefs invoke customary laws in attempts to enforce sanctions against individuals who refuse to observe certain customary practices for religious reasons. But this has implications for the human rights of citizens. This article discusses the implications of this situation for the future of chieftaincy as well as prospects for the protection of the human rights of citizens who for religious reasons choose to stay away from certain communal customary practices. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]