Ghana - Social development

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust, established in 1972, covers wage employees. Self-employed persons have the option of joining. Pensions are funded by 5% contributions from employees and 12.5% contributions from employers. The minimum pension is set at 50% of the average annual salary. There are no sickness or maternity benefits provided, however employed persons receive worker's compensation. Agricultural workers and subsistence farmers are excluded from coverage in these programs.

Women play a prominent role in agriculture and domestic trade, and are represented at the highest levels of political life. Traditional courts, however, often deny women inheritance or property rights. Traditional customs also violate the human rights of children, including facial scarring and female genital mutilation. Violence against women is common, and seldom are reported. Among the Ewe ethnic group, a traditional practice called trokosi allows an individual or family to enslave a virgin daughter to a local priest or shrine for as long as three years as a means of assuring atonement for crimes committed by member's of the family. Reports on the actual number of girls thus enslaved vary, with some suggesting a number over 2,000, while other international observers report that there are less than 100 at any time. There are many reports of teachers sexually assaulting female students.

Ethnic tensions and violence continue in the northern region. Some human right abuses continue, although significant improvements were made. The use of excessive force and lengthy pretrial detention was not uncommon.

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