The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday called on government to show strong commitment to the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) to enhance child right protection.
This, the UNICEF said, would not only be symbolic ratification, but an important gesture to show government’s strong commitment in addressing issues like child trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography affecting children in Ghana.
Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, a representative of UNICEF made the call at Dungu in the northern region when she addressed children and stakeholders on behalf of UNICEF Executive Director, Mrs Henrietta Fore.
The event organised by the UNICEF in collaboration with Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection was to commemorate the celebration of the 30 years of CRC’s adoption in Ghana as well as celebrating Child Rights in Northern Ghana.
It was also to mobilise children and partners to review the level of progress of CRC and make further commitments in translating child rights into reality. Madam Dufay said there were some disparities and inequalities that needed to be tackled such as lack of education, poor sanitation, child labor among others, though government was making efforts to promote the rights of the children.
She said according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) (2017/2018), only 53 percent, comparing to the national average of 71 percent of boys and girls complete primary school and this needed to be improved on.
Madam Dufay stressed that only 25 per cent of boys and girls, compared to 47 per cent in the northern region, completed lower secondary high school. She, however, acknowledged the government's efforts at tackling Poor education by introducing Free Senior High school policy in the country. Ms. Lanzare Hamida, the Speaker of Girls Parliament at the Kpandai Model School said the CRC was the first law which recognised that children were not just little people who belonged to their parent, but rather individuals who had their own rights and realising the rights to meet a full life.
She said children in the country do not have equal chances compared to those at the southern part which cut childhood of the children because they were subjected to discrimination, conflict, violence and abuses.
She said children especially those with disabilities were denied basic child rights resulting in hunger and malnutrition, abuses and exploitation, early marriage and some social vices.
Madam Cynthia Morrison, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection said the ministry would do it best to ensure that an enabling environment is provided for children and their rights fully realised. She also advised parents to cultivate the habit of empowering their children rather than abusing them.
Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional Minister urged the public to see the fight for the rights of the children as a shared responsibility to ensure that, their rights were enhanced and enforced in the country especially through the CRC.
He said government was however, making efforts to ensure that there was peace in the north to create an enabling environment for children to enjoy their rights.
Mr Douri Bennin Hadi, a representative of the Coalition of NGOs on the rights of the Child, assured that, the coalition and its supporting partners would continue to support children especially recognising the fact that a child was a replica of the adult and must be protected against all forms of child abuse.
He said Ghana's proactive position to be the first country in the world to ratify the CRC, was an inspiring fact to the coalition to promote child rights, growth and development.
Present at the occasion were; Regional Ministers of the five regions in the north, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Traditional leaders, Parent and children among others.