Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday September 14, 2010
SAMUEL OKUDZETO Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information says child rights issues have not been given the necessary attention and that accounts for the rampant neglect, abuse and maltreatment of children by the elderly in the country.
“The rights of children are not being taken serious as a country. We have relaxed in our bid to create conducive environment for child development. This is a shared indictment and we must wake up to our responsibilities,” he said.
Mr. Ablakwa was speaking in Accra on Monday at a two-day training for journalists from the Greater-Accra region on child rights issues.
The programme, which was organized by Child rights International in collaboration with Plan Ghana and the European Union (EU), seeks to build the capacity of journalists to enable them combat and prevent violence against children.
Mr. Ablakwa said there is total care and support for children in many countries and wondered why Ghana could not follow such examples, adding, “We should not continue to apportion blame; we should all take immediate steps to correct all the wrongs we as adults have done to children.”
Gertrude Aikins, Director of Public Prosecution, who represented the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould Iddrisu, said the nation has a comprehensive law on how children should be developed in the country but the application and implementation of such law has been the bane.
She said prisons, police cells and other detention centers should be the last resort for children who flout the law, adding “anytime the situation arises their cases should be treated with extreme care because you cannot criminalize a child less than 12 years.”
“Before a child is committed to stand trial, a social worker is supposed to investigate and write formal background report for the child, yet we gloss over these all the time.”
She said journalists are always confronted with a dilemma when it comes to issues concerning children and reiterated the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of children are enforced properly.
Hajia Gariba Boya, Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs said, “Children continue to suffer in the country because we as adults have failed to commit ourselves towards their proper development.”
She said the ministry would continue to raise awareness on the dangers of child neglect in the country and work with all stakeholders to ensure the safety of children.
Bright Appiah, Executive Director of Child Rights International said children in the country need total support from all stakeholders to grow to become responsible citizens.
Ransford Tetteh, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said the role of the media in promoting the rights of children should never be underestimated and also urged journalists to protect the interest of children.