The Child Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental Organisation has called on the government to make its Social Protection (SP), interventions known in the handling and the stoppage of ‘galamsey’ activities in the country.
The Organisation, which based its call on facts gathered from a survey it conducted in eight districts to ascertain the prevalence of child labour in mining communities, said over 2,092 children were found to be at high risk of hazardous works, including ‘galamsey’ operations in these area.
It said in the districts, which involved the Atwima Mponua, Atwima Nwabiagya, Bibiani, Asunafo South, Asutifi North and South, as well as the Ahafo Ano North and South, there were at least a family member in each of the sampled households who was engaged in illegal mining, and a total of 30 children identified to be working constantly in ‘galamsey’.
Mr Bright Appiah, the Executive Director, Child Rights International, who made the call at a press conference in Accra Thursday, applauded government for the tremendous intervention in stopping the ‘galamsey’ menace, and pledged the total support of the CRI in fighting the course to the end.
He, however, said in carrying out measures to halt ‘galamsey’ “we have to give attention to Social and Child Protection issues in the mining areas”, with the knowledge that children were also involved in the practice, which was a threat not only to their lives, but also to the country as it stood the risk of losing great leaders by record of a high school dropout rate.
The country would soon face the consequences of witnessing increases in children’s vulnerability to diseases due to the pollution of the environment if the situation was not quickly addressed, he said.
Mr Appiah said there was the need for government to look at the social protection implications on people, including children and put in place sustainable livelihood empowerment programmes as an alternative, to draw the affected into the social safety net.
He suggested to the government to take the appropriate steps to investigate the condition of children and households in the ‘galamsey’ endemic communities in order to support their welfare, rehabilitation and re-integration into mainstream society.
He said identifying such children would enable the government to withdraw them and develop remediation plans for their families.
He asked that much engagement and collaboration with formal and informal community structures, including traditional systems, Child Protection Committees, School Management Committees, Social Welfare as well as the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, and building their capacities to be pursued to achieve effective outcomes.