Ministry intensifies efforts to enforce laws on child protection

The Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) has intensified efforts to monitor and ensure strict enforcement of existing laws on child protection.

It has pledged its commitment to deal with parents and guardians who failed in their responsibilities towards their children and wards.

Hajia Hawawu Boya Gariba, Deputy Minister of MOWAC, who announced this therefore, charged the media to endeavour to monitor and expose people who abused the rights of children urging the media to operate without fear or favour.

She was addressing the opening session of a two-day workshop on child rights issues for journalists in Accra.

It was jointly organised by Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Plan Ghana, Child Rights International in collaborations with the European Union, under the theme: “Combating and Preventing Violence against Children, In Conflict with the Law and Justice Institutions”.

The workshop  is to train and orient the media to undertake information dissemination in a manner which would preserve the rights of children and juveniles to dignity and protection, as stated in the United Nations Convention, UNCRC, the Children’s Act (Act 560) and the Juvenile Justice Act (Act 653).

In addition, it would equip the media with tools and guidelines in their work with regard to child rights.

Hajia Gariba said parents had roles to play to ensure the survival, growth and development of children, and noted that the situation of most children still remained critical due to the unique factors of their socio–economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances.

She said the increasing incidence of children fending for themselves and living on the streets, child abandonment, the plight of disabled children were indications of lack of adequate care and guidance for children in Ghana.

“These demonstrate that the duty-bearer of children, you and I are unable, or are simply refusing to fulfil our legal and moral obligation towards the Ghanaian child,” she added.

The Deputy Minister noted that children continued to suffer because of lack of commitment on the part of relevant stakeholders to complement government’s efforts towards the holistic development of children.

She therefore asked all stakeholders to rededicate themselves to the welfare of Ghanaian children to avoid armed robbery, illicit trade and other social vices.

Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and in a speech read on her behalf, called for more dedication and commitment from regulators and inspectors of various orphanage homes.

She challenged the Ministry of Education, MOWAC and Department of Social Welfare to fashion out a certificate programme in caregivership in the country as well as innovative ways to protect vulnerable children.

“We would propose legislation to the effect that every children’s home or orphanage in Ghana must have a CCTV to be supervised by the GJA,” she added.

Mr Bright Appiah, Executive Director of Child’s Right International, observed that Ghana had many laws on children but implementing those laws had become a problem.

He said children who came into conflict with the law should not be branded as criminals and appealed to magistrates to be moderate and creative in how they judged juveniles.

Mr Appiah deplored the current practice of putting youth and adults together in the country’s overcrowded prisons noting that made them hardened juveniles.

He indicated that between 1993 and 2003, 10,488 juveniles were detained in police cells and 2,164 imprisoned with adults, and in the absence of remand homes for children under 18 years, in some regions 377 children under 12 years were detained in police cells.

“This is against the law and must be condemned by all,” Mr Appiah added.

Mr Ransford Tetteh, GJA President, challenged the media to acquire copies of the various legislations in order to become well vexed with issues when reporting on issues concerning children.

Source: GNA

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