The Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah, is worried that despite comprehensive laws and massive public education, the Ghanaian society remains less responsive to the welfare of children.
He blames the situation on the lack of social and political commitment to address issues about children.
Mr Appiah made these statements while reacting to data compiled by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), which shows that a third of all human rights complaints filed last year related to child rights.
8,412 human rights complaints filed
Out of a total of 8,412 human rights complaints filed in 2021, 2,791 of the cases, representing 32.2 % were classified under child rights.
19% rise in cases
The figure represents 19% rise in the total number of cases recorded in 2020.
451 more cases recorded in 2021
While 2,340 cases were recorded in 2020, the figure shot up by 451 to settle at 2,791 in 2021.
146 right to education cases
In 2021, CHRAJ received a total of 146 right to education cases. 1,914 right to maintenance cases.
Regarding the right to maintenance (necessaries of life), 1,914 cases were filed.
215 right to access to natural parents cases
In respect to the right to health, five cases were filed, while 215 right to access to natural parents were also filed.
The rest are defilement-18, child trafficking-15, early and forced marriages-22, inhuman treatment-41, right to name-16, and right to lawful custody-310.
The future of every child, to a very large extent, depends on the care, facilities and opportunities they get during their childhood consequently.
If children do not get what they need, they cannot grow up to become the expected worthy citizens of the country.
In order to grow up properly, some basic needs are to be fulfilled as their right.
Mr Appiah noted that these figures are a reflection of societal lack of respect for the dignity of children.
According to him, it also shows the break-up of response unit in addressing the basic needs of children.
The Executive Director of Child Rights International called for enforcement of existing laws, which he said are more comprehensive than the laws of even some advanced countries.
Mr Appiah, whose work seeks to protect and safeguard the social, educational and constitutional rights of children, is convinced that a comprehensive policy on parenting to regulate the welfare and care of children would go a long way to curtail abuses of the rights of children.
The Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection is duty bound to ensure the protection of the rights of children, but Mr Appiah said the Department lacks resources to effectively carry out its mandate.
Children are vulnerable, tender and small, therefore, are largely dependent on adults.
The rights of children include the right to food, right to clothing, right to shelter, right to education, right to entertainment, right to good health and proper nourishment and the right to name and country.
However, the observance of some of these child rights has often become a challenge, especially to most developing countries, including Ghana.
These rights include protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination, including the right for safe children’s environments and a constructive child-raising behaviour.
Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution provides for the protection of children’s rights, amongst others.
The rights of women and children are protected under Articles 27 and 28 of the 1992 Constitution.
Other relevant legislations include the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) which protects children generally; Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 1998 (Act 554) which protects the child from sexual offences, abduction and abandonment; Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) which protects children from violence in domestic settings; Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) which protects the personal liberty of children; Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653) which protects the rights of the child who has breached the law and the Criminal offences Act, 1960 ( Act 29 ).
In spite of the almost sufficient legal framework both local and international, child rights violations are still very common in Ghana.
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