NGO calls for punishment for fathers whose children are on the streets 

Challenging Heights, a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) on children’s rights, has called for the “severest punishment” for fathers whose actions force their children to be on the streets.

In a statement of support for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s (AMA) decision to arrest and prosecute parents who allow their children to stray on the streets in the capital, the NGO said it was long overdue and called for measures to ensure that the affected children were adequately protected in accordance with the country’s laws.

Challenging Heights noted that some parents had been irresponsible in the care of their children and said it was time the country’s laws on the child were strictly enforced.

It stated that “Article 6 (2) of the Children’s Act makes it clear that every child has the right to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education and shelter from his parents”.

The NGO pointed out that despite this law there were about one million children of school going age on the streets during school hours.

The statement recalled government interventions such as the capitation grant aimed at easing the burden on parents in providing basic education and said parents should not expect everything about their children to be provided for free by government.

It said parents have the primary responsibility of providing education, feeding, clothing and shelter for their children and stated that, leaving them to stray the streets of Accra, even if the parents were too poor to care for them, was not in the best interest of children.

The NGO said many children had been knocked down by speeding vehicles when they should be in the classroom, risking injuries and death on the streets and called on the other districts in the country to follow the AMA example.

It called on AMA to go beyond the arrest of mothers since 75 percent of children on the streets were being taken care of by their mothers only and that in a lot of cases it was the “fatherly irresponsibility” that forced mothers to leave their children on the streets.

Source: GNA

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