Furthermore, Parliament also passed the Human Trafficking Regulations last year while the Ministry is piloting a shelter for trafficked children.

 

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, made these known at the Fourth National Gender Dialogue on emerging Child Protection Issues in Ghana, yesterday.

 

The dialogue series provide the platform for engagement with key stakeholders and the general public on emerging issues related to the overall development of our country.

 

This year’s series was on the theme: ‘Addressing violence against children.’

 

Mrs Lithur said the meeting would bring out emerging child protection issues in Ghana and forge strategies and solutions to move the cause of child protection forward.

 

On the violence on children within the education system, Mrs Lithur disclosed that the Child Protection Baseline Research Report conducted in 2014 revealed that 74.4 per cent of students had experienced physical harm by a teacher or someone else in the form of punishment as well as cyber-crimes against children in the form online sexual exploitation and child pornography, among others.

 

“Violence against children in all its forms is detrimental to not only growth and development of the child but also has severe impacts on our progress as a nation,” she noted.

 

She, however, gave the assurance that Ghana had, through its legal and policy environment, established strong systems and structures available to protect Ghanaian children.

 

Mrs Lithur said Government through the Ministry had established systems such as the Child and Family Welfare Policy, National School Feeding Policy and a project dubbed: ‘from street to school project’ to re-unite street children with their families and combat teenage pregnancy.

 

She pledged Government’s commitment to implementing measures to strengthen the country’s child protection system and called on all stakeholders to support government to enable Ghanaian children contribute to the social and economic growth of Ghana.

 

She commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for supporting the Ministry’s dialogue series.

 

In her remarks, a representative on the Joint UN team on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Eugene Odoi, said Ghana should not take pride in just being the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also be able to further enact laws to ensure that children were protected and received good care.

 

Mrs Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Resident Representative, African Development Bank, in a statement, urged government and stakeholders to urgently address emerging child protection issues notably, violence against children and cyber safety which could also negatively affect the socio-economic and psychological development of children in order to facilitate the attainment the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030.

 

For her part, UNICEF Representative, Susan Ngongi, called for a holistic and proper internet regulation.

 

She disclosed that UNICEF was preparing to launch a national research to gather information to inform programme interventions on how to protect children on-line.

 

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)