The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Morrison, has called for an end to all forms of violence against children.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Chief Director of the ministry, Dr Hafisa Zackaria, at the launch of an advocacy campaign dubbed: “Stop Violence Against Children”, the minister reiterated Ghana’s position on promoting and ensuring the protection of children.
The call comes on the back of a research conducted by the ministry and OAfrica, a non-governmental organisation focused on the well-being of children, and funded by the European Union (EU).
According to the research, some children still drop out of school due to varying reasons in spite of the various social intervention programmes instituted by the government to increase enrolment, participation and retention of children in school.
The children sampled indicated that corporal punishment still prevailed in their schools in spite of the tough stance taken by the Ghana Education Service to ban it from schools.
The research also found out that some children experienced violence at home, with 50.8 per cent corrected through caning and whipping, and 7.7 per cent through physical punishment with bare hands.
Overwhelmingly, children experience violence at school, with a little over 80 per cent of the children reporting that the corrective method used is the cane.
Let’s do more
According to Mrs Morrison, despite Ghana’s achievement at ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which provides for the welfare of children and is to protect them from all forms of abuse and exploitation, some children continued to suffer abuse in parts of the country, with persistent economic exploitation and physical harm.
“I am happy to report that after three decades of Ghana’s ratification of the UNCRC, significant strides have been made to address children’s rights in the area of health, education, social welfare and justice.
“In spite of the successes chalked up, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure a Ghana fit for all children,” she said.
The minister called on all stakeholders to intensify efforts to end all forms of child abuse and also find suitable strategies for addressing children’s needs at the national, regional, local and household levels.
She expressed appreciation to the EU for providing support through OAfrica for the ‘Ghana Children’s Study and the Stop Violence Against Children’ project.
For his part, the Public Relations Officer of OAfrica, Mr Platini Ashiagbor, said the campaign had been designed to show the full horror of violence against children in the hope that it would raise the necessary awareness to create a new culture of parenting.
He said he was hopeful that the campaign would birth a new generation of Ghanaians whose self-confidence would come from within, because they had grown up in families that raised them up instead of beat them down.
Mr Ashiagbor also urged the public to join in celebrating the success of the campaign and commit to the fight against child abuse for a violence-free future for the children in Ghana.
The campaign is a joint programme of the MoGCSP and OAfrica, and seeks to draw public attention to suppress all actions that perpetuate violence against children at home, school, workplace, justice & welfare institutions and community settings, as well as reduce the acceptance of social practices that have negative consequences on children.
It is meant to create a critical mass of people to promote the adoption of behaviours favourable to the protection of children.
The campaign also aims at reaching millions of Ghanaians with messages to prevent abuse and promote the well-being of children in order to end violence against children and adolescents, including harmful practices.