Gender Ministry to launch new programme against children abuse

Gender Ministry to launch new programme against children abuse
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com | Abubakar Ibrahim
Date: 20-11-2017 Time: 10:11:41:pm
Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba

The Gender Ministry is set to launch a new programme to demonstrate its commitment to putting children first by stopping all abuses against children in Ghana.

A press statement in commemoration of World Children’s Day, the Minister Otiko Afisa Djaba said, “it is not good enough to pay lip service to the protection and well-being of our children.”

The Child Protection Social Drive in Ghana will be launched on the theme: “Ghanaians Rallying Against Abuse of Children”.

“Indeed children are our loved ones and we must treasure and invest in them by developing a holistic approach to understanding them and change our attitudes in how we perceive, nurture and involve them.”

She believes that Ghana 60 years on must have a total paradigm shift to appreciate children as human beings and not as charlatans, as co-owners, shareholders and key stakeholders of their own development and as partners in community, regional and nation-building.

According to her, “the Ministry is currently through the Department of Children has begun a process of reviewing laws which include Development of shelters, Human Trafficking Secretariat, Human Trafficking Fund, Prosecution of offenders, the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653), the child and family welfare policy, the FCUBE, National Strategic Framework for Ending Child Marriage, and other related laws which will deter people from perpetuating violence against children.”

Read her statement below:

CELEBRATION OF UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY 2017

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection wishes to congratulate all our children to mark the anniversary of the celebration of the Universal Children’s Day globally. The United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote and strengthen international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and children’s welfare. November 20th is an important date because it was this day in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. In addition, today has special significance because in 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Ghana signed into the Children’s Act 560 in 1998.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is, thus, pleased to commemorate this Universal Children’s Day in collaboration with Ministry of Local Government, UNICEF and wife of the wife President Samira Bawumia this year with an event on November 21st at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at 9 am. The general public is invited.

This program is the launch of the Child Protection Social Drive in Ghana, with the theme: “Ghanaians Rallying Against Abuse of Children”. It is the beginning of a mass movement of Ghanaians to demonstrate our commitment to putting children first by stopping all abuses against children in Ghana. It is not good enough to pay lip service to the protection and well-being of our children. 

Indeed, children are our loved ones and we must treasure and invest in them by developing a holistic approach to understanding them and change our attitudes in how we perceive, nurture and involve them. Ghana 60 years on must have a total paradigm shift to appreciate children as human beings and not as charlatans, as co-owners, shareholders and key stakeholders of their own development and as partners in community, regional and nation-building. The adage that children must be “seen and not heard” should be reviewed because, children have a voice, and that voice must be heard.

Children should be respected and not seen as property to be sold off into child trafficking, servitude, child labour and child prostitution. Ghana 60 Years on cannot afford to leave any child out or behind. No child can wait, all children of Ghana, able and disabled must have gender equality and equity for full productive inclusion. The Ministry will not relent in its pursuit of the best interest of the Ghanaian child and we are working hard to strengthen and introduce initiatives that would ensure that the various laws and policies to protect children and prevent abuse and violence against them are implemented and enforced. 

We are determined to collaborate with law enforcement agencies, CSOs, NGOs, CBOs, faith-based organizations, the media, traditional rulers and development partners to intensify grassroots-based sensitization and advocacy to ensure that theory meets practice in terms of implementation of our laws to protect our children from abuse. 

Community fora, town hall meetings, durbars, reporting channels, rapid response systems, better case management and follow up mechanisms, counselling, naming and shaming perpetrators and enforcement of legal punitive sanctions of offenders who abuse children must become a collective responsibility of all Ghanaians and implementing agencies and departments, with leadership and coordination from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. 

According to UNICEF, every year, millions of children around the world become victims of untold violence.  Children in every country, of every culture and at every social level face various forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence in the form of trafficking, physical assault, humiliating punishment, defilement, harmful traditional practices (including early marriage and genital mutilation/cutting), child labour, child prostitution, begging and recruitment into armed groups. The abuse takes place at home, in school, in institutions, at work, in the community, during armed conflicts, across borders and natural disasters.

Growing up is not easy but growing up with violence and abuse makes childhood miserable because they seriously affect a child’s development, dignity physical and psychological integrity negatively. The prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) recorded in 2015 was 3%, reported defilement cases of girls in 2015 was 1,187 and 16 for boys.

Child marriage is 21% as per Demographic and Health Survey 2014 (DHS).  However, children of Ghana, have been resilient, tenacious and courageous in spite of the various challenges and abuse they face.  As we celebrate this 2017 Universal Children’s Day, the Ministry is making a passionate call to action for all parents, teachers and careers of children to be more vigilant over their children especially, girls who are believed to be more prone to sexual abuse and exploitation.

In these modern times, where invariably most parents are working, divorce and single parenting is on the increase, the extended family system is weakening because of migration, television, internet, social media and peer influence are increasingly replacing parenting.  This is affecting our children negatively and opening them to more risks, so good parenting is needed by children now more than ever. 

Currently, the Ministry through the Department of Children has begun a process of reviewing laws which include Development of shelters, Human Trafficking Secretariat, Human Trafficking Fund, Prosecution of offenders, the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653), the child and family welfare policy, the FCUBE, National Strategic Framework for Ending Child Marriage, and other related laws which will deter people from perpetuating violence against children.

The Ministry of Communication and the Attorney General’s Office are working on cyber protection. So Government’s commitment to improving the legislative environment to reduce violence and abuse against children and other young people online is demonstrated through the Cyber Security Policy and the ratification of the Convention on Cyber Crime by the end of 2017.   

As future leaders, young people must be educated to be more responsible, to be disciplined and to practice positive lifestyles that would minimize their exposure to sexual abuse and violence. In recent times, more young people use the internet for entertainment, education, and communication purposes which has positive implications. However, because of the risks and dangers, it is important that appropriate steps are taken to promote the safe and innovative use of new technology including utilizing mobile devices and other online social networks.

There is the need to create a safe environment that protects children from all forms of violence not only when they are online, but wherever they find themselves; at home, school, institutions, workplace, and community.  Children need to be schooled about their rights and responsibilities, safe touching and unsafe touching and early socialization about their sexuality and reproductive health care to provide further protection against abuse.

The Ministry would like to express our gratitude to all contributors for their valuable efforts, commitment, resources and dedication in helping to raise awareness to child abuse and violence over the years. We hope that the partnership, cooperation, alliances and collaboration between the Ministry and its partners, children and parents will be further strengthened to achieve the best interest of our children. We also wish to assure all children that government will take all the appropriate steps to protect their interest by putting children first, so that together, in celebration of this year’s Universal Children’s Day we can “Prevent Child Abuse, Promote Child Wellbeing and

 Protect Our Children”. 

Happy Universal Children’s Day!

Long Live Children!

Long Live Ghana!

 ISSUED THIS DAY 20TH NOV, 2017

SIGNED

HON. OTIKO AFISA DJABA

MINISTER FOR GENDER, CHILDREN & SOCIAL PROTECTION

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