November 15, 2020 4:12 am
In strengthening the child protection system in the country, it became necessary for Ghana to have comprehensive policies that ensure children are protected hence the Child and Family Welfare and Justice for children policies.
To ensure that these policies are effectively implemented, there was the need for all child related legislations in the country to be incorporated in emerging child protection issues.
As a result of this, the Department of Children under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection have organised a two day meeting with some key stakeholders from 14th to 15th November, 2020 in Koforidua to discuss questions raised by the Office of the Attorney General on the Amendment of the Children’s Act, Juvenile Justice Act and any other emerging issues on Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Acts.
In a speech read on behalf of the Hon. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Chief Director, Dr. Afisah Zakariah said Ghana began the process of strengthening its child protection system in 2010 which led to drafting and launching of Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children Policies.
These policies she said called for a robust legislation environment that ensures children rights are clearly spelt out and violations punished.
Dr. Afisah Zakariah said to achieve the objectives of the Child and Family Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policies, there is the need for legislative provisions to meet international standards regarding children’s rights, their protection and development.
The Chief Director thanked UNICEF and the Legal Resource Centre for their overwhelming support from the beginning of the entire process since it’s inception in 2017.
A Child Protection specialist Madam Hilda Mensah at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in her submission said while much progress has been made to improve the protection of the Children’s Act through various policy and legal frameworks, violence, abuse and exploitation of children remain a reality for many children in Ghana.
This she said is evident from the 2018 Multiple Indication Cluster Survey (MICS) where 94% of children age 1-14 years continue to experience some form of violence. She added that issues that confront children require laws that shields them completely.
Madam Hilda Mensah stressed that the proposed amendments to the Children’s Act, the Criminal and other offences Act and the Human Trafficking Act will go a long way to make the legal environment stronger, make children live in safety and create conditions in which parents, care givers, child protection service providers, community leaders, the private sector and civil society organizations can meet their responsibilities for protecting, promoting and fulfilling the rights of all children in Ghana.
She pledged UNICEF’s commitment to support the review of comments on the proposed amendments.
Present at the meeting were the Director for Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry, Mr. Mawutor Ablo, Ag.Director for the Department of Children, Mrs. Florence Ayisi Quartey, Head of the Central Adoption Authority, Mr. Stephen Dombo and the RSIM Director at the Office of the Local Government Service, Dr. Charles Kesse.
At the end of the two day meeting, it is expected that comments and inputs from stakeholders will be incorporated in the new draft bill.