Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CHRAJ marks World Children’s Day

Some of the school children in a group photograph with Ms. Anna Bossman (Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ), Richard Quayson (Deputy Commissioner in charge of Education CHRAJ) and Mrs. Rita Owusu-Amankwah.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 24, 2010
A DEVELOPMENT consultant and child protection specialist, Rita Owusu-Amankwah has said the only way children’s rights can be effectively protected and safeguarded is to ensure that the Children’s Act is fully implemented without any compromise.

She noted that even though there was steady progress in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) localised in the Children’s Act 560 of 1998, there was the need for all stakeholders to deepen their commitment to ensure the creation of a conducive environment for children to develop their future potentials.

Mrs. Owusu-Amankwah was speaking at a symposium to commemorate this year’s World Children’s Day which fell on Friday, November 19, 2010 under the theme “The Convention on the Rights of Children: Why is it time to make it work for all children?”

The symposium was organized by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for school pupils within the Accra Metropolis. The commission used the occasion to highlight the need for the nation to prioritize the needs of children particularly the vulnerable and those in deprived communities.

Mrs. Owusu-Amankwah said the impact of the CRC on national law and practice has been outstanding saying the numerous laws in existence are helping to address the gaps and weaknesses in existing laws regarding child protection.

She said programmes should be designed that would make children strive to become responsible adults instead of rolling out programmes and events that tend to influence them negatively.

“Children’s rights are legally binding so we should not do anything that would thwart such efforts. Interests of children will be best served if all outstanding laws concerning children are passed.”

She identified poverty as the biggest obstacle in child development efforts and called on district assemblies and government agencies to strive to enforce child-centered laws and get children to partake in decisions that ultimately affect them saying “Ghana has made gains in all the targets set under the Millennium Development Goals but we have to intensify our efforts to get there.”

Ms. Anna Bossman, Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ bemoaned the high incidence of parental neglect in the country and said the enforcement of child protection laws is posing major challenges in the quest to create a conducive environment for child development.

“We have the legislations and other legal frameworks but the enforcement is weak. We should all help to make the laws work for our children.”

She called on adults to speak up against child abuse, vulnerability and neglect and praised single mothers for their contribution towards child development saying “they are the ones who are helping mostly to build this nation; that is not to say that some single fathers are also not helping.”

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