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GHANA: Protect Us From Abuse - Kids Appeal To MPs

Extra Curriculum activity at the Step-by-Step Montessori at Dansoman, Accra, is always interresting, because we learn new skills such as crocheting and needlework as we are doing here.
Extra Curriculum activity at the Step-by-Step Montessori at Dansoman, Accra, is always interresting, because we learn new skills such as crocheting and needlework as we are doing here.
Ghanaian children  have  had the rare occasion to quiz Parliamentarians on  measures they  had   put in place to protect them from abuse.

They pointed out  that  even though Ghana was the first  country  to ratify the Convention on the Right of the Child, children in the country were  still going  through countless abuses.

The children made this concern known  at a  roundtable  discussion to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Accra.

The event provided a platform for the children to question parliamentarians and also sought  clarification on issues bordering on teenage pregnancy, child labour, sex education  and reporting abuse cases.

  Other areas of concern to them  were the country’s education policies, school feeding programme, female genital mutilation (FGM) sexual harassment in school and the need to consult them on issues that affect them.

The children contended that most of their mates did not know much about their rights because of which some adults took advantage of their ignorance to abuse them.

They,  called for measures to deal with adults who violated the rights of children and  further sought to  know  where  such offenders could be reported apart from the Police Service.

On harassment, the children alleged  that  some teachers sexually harassed them, particularly, the females and wanted to know what the parliamentarians could  do to solve  the problem.

In line with that , the children appealed to parents to help teachers to educate them on their sexuality and not see sex education as a way of over-exposing them  to sex.

The Parliamentarians, who were led by the Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Madam Akua Sena Dansoa and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Children and Gender, Sampson Ahi advised children to always report anyone who abused their rights.

They told the children that harassment of any form was criminal. They  cited female genital mutilation as  barbaric and urged  the children not to cover up such criminal acts.

On their rights, the parliamentarians said even though children had rights, they also had responsibilities towards themselves, their parents and their community.

Madam Dansoa told the children that there were laws protecting them against abuse but blamed  the problem on  implementation and the unwillingness of people, especially children to expose those who abuse them.

She assured them that they would be protected if they reported such offenders and cited an instance where a girl reported to the ministry that her parents wanted to marry her  off to an old man and the ministry reacted swiftly to save the girl from forced marriage.

“I personally informed DOVSU and together with other personnel, the father of the girl had been apprehended and the girl is currently free from that old man and enjoying her childhood . You must have the courage to report such people,” she told the children.

SOURCE: Graphic Ghana

AUTHOR: Severious Kale Dery

URL: Click here

DATE: 30/11/2009

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