Children in the Northern Region have compiled a long list of demands for government. They are urging authorities to, among things, curb all forms of child abuse and create a safe environment in schools. The children also called on government to make adequate resources available towards the implementation of the child and family welfare policy launched by the Gender, Children and Social Protection ministry.
Two students from high schools in the metropolis, Abdul Manan Yasira from Kalpohin Senior High School and Abass Abdul Aziz of Tiyumba Junior High School made the call on behalf of children in the northern region at a day’s media engagement of journalists from the Upper East and Northern regions organized by the Ghana NGOs Coalition on the Right of the Child (GNCRC) in Tamale. Ghana’s rectified the United Nations convention on the rights of the child(UNCRC) in 1990.
The country in its quest to implement the UNCRC has also taken steps to reform laws to affirm its moral and legal obligation towards the survival, development and the protection of Ghanaian children. National laws were matched with the UNCRC beginning with the 1992 constitution which saw the inclusion of Article 28 and the African chapter on rights of the children.
The children said the initial commitment shown by the government of Ghana was commendable. While praising government for instituting measures to improve the lives of vulnerable children, they proposed that children be involved in decision making at all levels to ensure that they also contribute to the development of the country.
In addition, they asked authorities to ensure that resources are focused on the most marginalized children, to improve transparency and budget tracking and to adopt the inclusive education policy currently in draft form.
Besides asking the government to address the issue of corporal punishment which is widely used in schools, the children also implored government to critically look at programs that will address the menace of street children, ensure the development of programs and policy for the prevention, recovery and social reintegration of sexually exploited children and to draw programs to address adolescent reproductive health issues. Domestic and gender-based violence in the country was another issue the children urged authorities to tackle.
Government was also called upon to ensure that ICT is provided to all schools including those in the very rural areas and to make schools safe for children. The students appealed to authorities to address the high incidence of domestic and gender violence, child abuse and neglect.
The Acting National Coordinator of the GNCRC,Mr Barimah Akwasi Amankwa urged government to prioritise children’s issues. Mr Barimah could not understand why only two regions in Ghana, Greater Accra and the Central regions, have operational correctional centers.
Mr Barimah who spoke on the topic: Child and Family Welfare Policy: said children from Northern part of the country who commit crimes should not be subjected to a different set of laws from their counterparts in the south.The GNCRC coordinator urged all child-centred organizations to empower the media to expose negative issues affecting children in the country.
The children finally expressed their gratitude to the ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection for launching the Child and Family Welfare policy to address the numerous family problems across the country.