The Central Regional Department of Gender has called on stakeholders to collaborate efforts to systematically eliminate Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Child marriage and other harmful practices.

It said issues of the abuses on women, girls, children and vulnerable groups were the major prevailing problem in many communities due to lack of collaboration, linkages and synergies in tackling the dastardly practice head on.

It said, collaboration would ensure the prudent use of resources to achieve concrete results.

Mrs. Thywil Eyra Kpe, the Regional Director of the Department of Gender, made the call at an advocacy meeting with stakeholders on ending SGBV and harmful practices at Abura-Dunkwa in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District.

It was organized by the Department of Gender with support from the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) on the theme: “Ending SGBV, child marriage and harmful practices: The role of parents and community leaders.”

Mrs Kpe, said “The importance of building collective efforts and synergies to fight SGBV. It is unacceptable for Ghana to be counted among the leading countries with prevalence of such abuses.”

SGBVs including sexual abuses like rape, defilement, physical assault and injuries, to her, exposed the survivors to multiple health challenges, death and permanent damages that required a multi-sectorial approach to provide the necessary psychological and resources for the best of care.

On teenage pregnancy, she indicated that the Department has intensified public advocacy across the Region to help reduce the high prevalence rate.

It involves building the capacity of traditional leaders including family heads on best human rights approaches to addressing the challenges of teen pregnancies, child marriages and SGBV to ensure that girls’ rights were not infringed upon, she added.

She urged all citizens to take it upon themselves to report cases of gender-based violence and abuses to help create a conducive and violence free society in the rural communities.

She told parents to stop marrying-off young girls but work hard to provide the basic needs of their children and protect them from acts that will jeopardise their future.

Also, traditional and religious leaders must desist from settling issues of human rights violations but report them to the law enforcement agencies for redress.

She urged them to regularly engage their subjects to explain issues of human rights violations and means of seeking redress to protect their rights as enshrined in the constitution.

Mr. Michael Tagoe, the Youth Programme Officer of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) noted that, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and abortion with its attendant high mortality rate was an indication that the youth were already engaging in sex and must be educated to make the right choices.

In that light, he appealed to parents, community leaders who command enormous respect in their communities to get involved in educating the youth to empower them to respond to real issues that confront them.

Parents must adequately explain implications of SGBV to their children to stop them from depending on their peers for wrong information that drags them into engaging in unscrupulous acts.

Mr. Tetteh Tuwor, the Central Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) educated parents on the dire legal and socio-cultural consequences of SGBV, child marriage and parental irresponsibility.

He encouraged them to assist, maintain, guide and ensure their children survive and become responsible adults.

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