African governments have been implored to protect and promote the rights of children during humanitarian emergencies as a key to achieving the outcome of the Agenda 2063 which is Africa’s version of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Eric Adu, the Deputy Bono Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) made the appeal when he spoke at a durbar to mark “The Day of the African Child” (DAC) in Sunyani.
The programme, on the theme “Humanitarian Action in Africa- Children’s Right First” was organised by Compassion International Ghana (CIG) for children within its Sunyani Cluster.
They were conveyed to the Sunyani Senior High School for the celebration, which is annually observed on June 16 since 1991 when the then Organisation of African Union (OAU), now African Union (AU) first instituted it.
The Sunyani Cluster comprises selected Frontline Church Partners (FCPs) and other Christian Child Development Centres (CDCs) in some Districts and Municipalities in the Bono and Ahafo Regions.
The FCPs and the CDCs are partners implementing the objectives of the CIG which include “four dimensions of the holistic development of the child – the cognitive, upbringing, health status and socio-emotional” nationwide.
Mr Adu stressed the need for African governments to reaffirm their commitment to use preventive measures to avoid “humanistic situations” which could lead to the violation of the rights of the African child.
The rights of children must be prioritised because besides being the most vulnerable, they have unique interest and needs, he emphasised.
Mr Adu stated the physical and psychological safety of children were the keys to their health and future prospects, hence “their safety must not be threatened while their rights and needs must also be defended”.
Dr. Isaac Tandoh, the Public Relations Officer of CIG, explained that the organisation had been in existence for about 12 years to provide among others good upbringing, quality healthcare, proper education and poverty alleviation to Ghanaian children.
Against this background “we brought the kids here to feed and assist them to interact with each other as an avenue for them to exhibit their God given talents” through activities like choreography, cultural display, football, sack race, lime and spoon race, he explained.
Reverend Father Kingsley Dwamena Asante, a Priest at the St. Anselm Anglican Cathedral, Sunyani and the Chairman for the occasion recalled the DAC was instituted in commemoration of the 1976 Soweto Uprising in South Africa.
He recounted African students marched in protest against poor quality of education and also demanded that teaching instructions should be in their native languages.
But, sadly many of them were massacred through gunshots by the Police under the then Apartheid government and those African children deserved to be remembered for the brave action they took in defense of their rights, Rev. Asante added.