Ghanaian Land Dispute Sparks Global Call for Action on Indigenous Rights

Art Meet Activism to Give Voice to the Voiceless

No one is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it”

— Theodore Roosevelt

COLUMBUS, OH, UNITED STATES, February 26, 2024 / — A land dispute in Ghana has ignited a global conversation about indigenous rights and the rule of law. The Kumasi Traditional Council’s denial of Konadu Afia-Ofi’s ancestral land claim, despite her lineage to King Osei Tutu I (founder of the Ashanti Empire) and Queen Huahi Tutuwaa (beloved wife King Osei Tutu I), exposes systemic issues that go beyond a single family’s struggle.

Beyond a Single Case: Protecting Ancestral Lands and Cultural Heritage

The legal claim of the indigenous people of Benimasi-Boadi appears valid under Ghana’s Land Act 1036. However, this dispute represents a broader issue: the ongoing struggle for indigenous land rights in Ghana. The Council’s actions threaten countless families whose history, identity, and cultural heritage are intertwined with their ancestral lands. Denying them legal protection enshrined in Act 1036 is not just a legal transgression, but also a form of cultural erasure.

References from the US Department of State

The 2022 US Department of State Human Rights Report on Ghana raises concerns about numerous human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, restrictions on free expression, violence against journalists, government corruption, and gender-based violence. These concerns directly parallel the challenges faced by the Benimasi-Boadi community, as evidenced by the Kumasi Traditional Council’s order to shut down Oyerepa FM for broadcasting a program the council deemed disrespectful. This underscores the broader context of their land dispute and highlights systemic human rights issues within Ghana.

Land Rights Defenders Inc.: Standing with the Marginalized

Land Rights Defenders Inc. (LRDI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by Nana Kwesi Osei Bonsu, stands with the people of Benimasi-Boadi and all who face similar injustices. Nana, having sought refuge in the United States under the United Nations Convention against Torture, established LRDI to advocate for upholding the Ghana’s Land Act 1036 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

LRDI’s goals include:

*Engaging in dialogue with the Ghanaian government and the Kumasi Traditional Council to emphasize the rule of law and respect for indigenous land rights.

*Holding relevant authorities accountable for potential violations of national and international law through legal mechanisms.

*Supporting civil society efforts and collaborating with local and international NGOs to protect land rights and promote access to justice in Ghana.

Art Meet Activism: Using Creativity to Spark Change

Land Rights Defenders Inc.’s (LRDI) upcoming Art Meet Activism Pre-launch utilizes the power of art to raise awareness, amplify voices, and foster solidarity. Through acrylic canvas paints , spoken word, and murals, the event aims to: Showcase the beauty and cultural richness of lands under threat. Give voice to the struggles and resilience of indigenous communities. Spark conversations about land rights and social justice, and inspire collective action and garner support for the Benimasi-Boadi community.

Beyond Borders: A Global Fight for Justice

Land Rights Defenders Inc.’s (LRDI) impact transcends Ghana. Founder Nana Kwesi Osei Bonsu’s advocacy extends to global philanthropy, as recognized by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Their active participation at UN Human Rights forums and successful collaborations with organizations like Candid, USAID, Google, Microsoft, and PayPal demonstrate their unwavering commitment to global justice. This is not merely a fight for land; it’s a fight for justice, equity, and the preservation of cultural heritage. LRDI stands as a beacon of hope, urging the international community to join them in demanding accountability, protecting indigenous rights, and ensuring the rule of law prevails, not just in Ghana, but throughout the world.

Nana Kwesi Osei Bonsu
Land Rights Defenders Inc
+1 614-316-4258
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Video of Nana and Phonan

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