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Carter Center to Hold Forum in Ghana on Rights of Women and Girls

Contact: Soyia Ellison,, 404-420-5124

ACCRA - On Dec. 7-9, The Carter Center will bring together more than 40 scholars, activists, and religious leaders to seek ways to combat the abuse and oppression of women and girls, and means of countering interpretations of faith-based teachings that perpetuate inequality and gender-based violence.

The Human Rights Defenders International Forum will take place at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, Ghana, where for three days participants will discuss the life of the girl child in West Africa, empowering women leaders, and gender and faith in conflict settings.

The forum begins with two days of closed workshops, followed by a day of public sessions open to the media. Journalists interested in attending the Dec. 9 sessions or interviewing participants should contact Soyia Ellison at

Participants include:

Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, National Chief Imam and Grand Mufti of Ghana.

Sayyada Rokhaya Ibrahima Niass, a Senegalese Islamic scholar and author of "Huquq Al Marati Al Islam (Rights of Women in Islam)."

Alhaji Khuzaima Mohammed Osman, executive secretary of the Islamic Peace and Security Council, charged with implementation of the National Chief Imam's Peace and Security Project.

Bolanle Makanju, founder of Scarlet2Snow, a faith-based NGO whose primary objective is to reach and rescue victims of human trafficking in Nigeria. Makanju advocates for the Nordic approach to prostitution laws, which calls for prosecuting johns and pimps rather than prostitutes.

Imam Mouhamed Cherif Diop, programs coordinator of Tostan in Senegal, whose efforts are focused on protecting children, beginning with access to education.

Bakary Sambe, coordinator with the Observatory on Religious Radicalism and Conflicts in Africa and author of author of "Islam and Diplomacy" and "Boko Haram: From a Nigerian Problem to Regional Threat."

Esther Ibanga, founder of Nigeria's Women Without Walls Initiative, which addresses the persistent ethno-religious conflicts in Plateau State by providing a platform for women across ethnic and religious groups to activate their voices in the call for peace.

Hauwa Ibrahim, a Nigerian human rights lawyer who has defended over 150 sharia-related cases, many involving women accused of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning or children sentenced to have limbs amputated.

Dec. 9 Forum Schedule
Note: Schedule subject to change, with some speakers still to be determined.

9 – 10 a.m. Opening Session, featuring welcoming remarks from Carter Center Vice President Jordan Ryan and a keynote address by Liberian Traditional Chief Zanzan Karwar.

11 a.m. – noon The Role of the Media and Religious and Traditional Leadership in Protecting and Developing the Girl Child, panel featuring Imam Abdulkareem Abass and Dr. Aisha Abdul-Kadiri, moderated by Chichi Okoye.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Responding to the Challenges of Women's Access to Leadership, panel featuring Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, and Fatou Kiné Sambe, moderated by Hauwa Ibrahim.

2:45 – 3: 45 p.m. Strategies for Preventing and Eliminating Violent Extremism, panel featuring Abdulkareem Majemu, Esther Ibanga, and Nuruddeen Lemu, moderated by Harriette Williams Bright.

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Closing Session, featuring a musical performance and signing of public declaration.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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