Ghana urges international community to protect children
Ghana has called on the international community to ensure that all children were protected and given the necessary care and attention needed to enable them to grow to a promising future.
“Ghana believes that children are the foundation of sustainable development in every country, therefore, considerable effort must be made to provide the range of services that promote the survival, growth, development and protection of children.
“Ghana has, through its legal and policy environment, established strong systems and structures available to protect children and ensure their growth and development,” Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Nana Oye Lithur was speaking at the Permata International Conference high level Forum on Quality Education to shape a nation’s future on behalf of Mrs Lordina Mahama, Ghana’s First Lady which was monitored by the Ghana News Agency.
The forum was hosted by Mrs Datin Paduka Seri Hjh Rosmah Mansor, Wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and attended by other first ladies across the world and representatives of heads of states and civil society organisations.
It was to discuss different efforts by various countries to ensure children had quality education that would in turn shape the future of the nation for the better.
Nana Oye Lithur said Ghana, as the first country to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child on January 29, 1990, and ratified it in February, 1990, had set up the legal and policy environment for children’s protection.
She said the country affirmed through the inclusion of specific provisions of the Convention in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution for protecting the rights of children…“The Constitution mandates Parliament to enact such laws as are necessary to ensure the realisation of certain rights of the child.
“Chapter Six of the Constitution provides for what are described as the Directive Principles of State Policy, which require, inter alia, that the State enacts appropriate laws to assure the protection and promotion of all basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled, the aged, children, and other vulnerable groups in the development process”.
The Gender Minister noted that in 1998 Parliament enacted the Children’s Act (Act 560) which provides for the rights and responsibilities of children.
She explained that the Act defined various avenues to ensure the protection of the Ghanaian Child. Ghana has also signed the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1997 and ratified it in 2005.
The Parliament of Ghana passed the Juvenile Justice Act in 2003. The Act provides a juvenile justice system, to protect the rights of juveniles, ensure an appropriate and individuals response to juvenile offenders, provide for young offenders and for connected purposes.
Nana Oye Lithur noted that in 2004, Ghana adopted the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy – which provides a broad policy goal, to promote the survival, growth and development of all children (0-8 years) in Ghana.
“Another important policy is the Child and Family Welfare Policy which was launched by the Vice President of Ghana, Paa Kwesi Ammisah Arthur in December last year.
“The Child and Family Welfare Policy seek to establish a well-structured and coordinated Child and Family Welfare system that promotes the wellbeing of children, prevents abuse and protect children from harm.
Sharing Ghana’s structures available to protect children, Nana Oye Lithur explained that the country has set up a Department of Children which is currently under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to enhance the survival, development, protection and increased participation of children in the development process.
She said the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service also support the protection of children. “Children who have been abused are able to report to friendly and welcoming police officers who assist in the prosecution and protection of the child”.
The Gender Minister said the government has also launched various programme that provide opportunities for children, especially those from poor homes, to have access to education, protection and health care.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme is currently providing one hot and adequately nutritious meal to 1,728,681 pupils in over 5,000 schools in 216 districts in Ghana.
The Gender Minister said to encourage girls to stay in school, 55,000 girls in 75 deprived districts have been provided with scholarship package under the Girls Participatory Approach to Student Success (Girls PASS).
The Permata International Conference, on the theme: “Children Beyond Tomorrow,” aims to create greater awareness and understanding on the development of young individuals and their optimal growth through sharing.