August 6, 2018 4:06 pm

The Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with Unicef Ghana & the Government of Canada has held a two-day dialogue (Monday, August 6 and Tuesday August 7, 2018) with relevant stakeholders on position papers on the amendment of child related legislation.

The event focused on reviewing emerging issues that will strengthen the legislation for the protection, safety and development of children today and for the future – the issues that affected children 61 years ago or even 20 or 10 years ago and how we addressed them.

The dialogue on the position papers basically discussed the pros and cons of three key emerging issues which were: Age of Consent to Sex and Age of Marriage, Corporal Punishment, and Child Online Protection.

Speaking at the first day of the dialogue, the Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection, Hon Otiko Afisah Djaba said that there was a serious need to address the legislative and policy gaps to enable stakeholders better protect and fulfill the human rights of all our people (especially the children) Ghana 61 years on.

The Honourable Minister also indicated that the constitution of Ghana, the Children’s Act, Child and Family Welfare Policy and other legislative instruments reflected how far we have evolved as a people, and therefore serious attention ought to be paid to children’s issues.

With regards to the position papers, the first one, age of consent to sex and age marriage discussed the issue of sexual consent in Ghana taking into consideration the International framework and the national legal and policy framework, and selects best practices for addressing the issue of sexual consent including making sexual and relationship education mandatory in and out of school.

The second position paper (corporal punishment) focused on the laws pertaining to the phenomenon of corporal punishment in Ghana. The recommendations made by various Regional and United Nation Human Rights Bodies, the amendment of laws, harnessing positive aspects of Ghanaian culture which considers the child as gift to society, and discipline as an opportunity for learning and provide a protective environment for children in various communities to prevent future occurrences of violence through corporal punishment.

The third, the child online protection position paper called for a close collaboration between all stakeholders to develop a framework that helps achieve some kind of consistency, share best practices and agree on what should be expected of service providers to protect their users from abusive behaviour and content online, and to help deal with abuse of children through the social media and the internet.

To mitigate the issues, the Honourable Minister expressed that programmes such as child friendly Policing, Safe school initiative, Community mobilisation for child protection through roll of the community facilitation manual and the development of the Inclusive Education Policy will ensure that nobody is left out or behind. The Ghana Against Child Abuse (GACA) Campaign is also another component of the child protection system initiatives aimed at galvanising national action to fight abuse against children.

The Hon. Otiko Djaba urged all to bite the bullet and walk the talk, and that all communities must rise against Corporal Punishment, which is not the task of government alone but all.

“It is our hope that we sustain these initiatives and ensure that all children are protected from abuse and exploitation by enforcing the laws, prosecuting the offenders and increasing convictions to deter offenders” she concluded.

On behalf of the Ministry and all children, the Hon. Minister thanked all for making the two-day consultation meeting a success.


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