ENSURING CHILDREN’S ACCESS TO JUSTICE DURING THE COVID-19
Honourable Ministers of State, development partners, CSOs, children, distinguish ladies and gentlemen of the media fraternity, today marks an important day in the history of the Ghanaian Child.
Since the inception of the Convention on the Rights of the Child it is only the Africa continent that has been able to come out with a domesticated version herein referred to as the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) which takes into consideration the characteristics of Africa.
It is 30 years since we all collectively agreed to protect and promote the development of the Africa child, Ayekoo!!! to Africa for this important milestone. Significantly also, 44 years ago, some Africa children in South Africa in their quest to demand for equal rights of education marched out on the streets and out of INJUSTICE on the part of the security forces they decided to open guns on the children killing over 100s students and 1000s were badly injured. May the gallant souls of these children rest in peace, they fought the battle and sacrificed for the whole of African children.
During this Covid 19 period, we have seen NGOs/CSOs complementing governments efforts in terms of food, health care delivery, education and other social protection services. Despite all these numerous interventions by CSOs/NGOs there are still a number of children’s INJUSTICE ISSUES which has not been reported and attended to as well thus hampering the development of these affected children in our respective communities.
Family heads, religious leaders, traditional leaders, parents continue to marry off girls below the age of 18 years accounting for over 18% of our population especially girls. As a society, we continue to perpetuate INJUSTICE to our children in the form of violence, abuse and exploitation in our respective communities under the disguise that we are “correcting” our children not thinking of the long-term consequences which goes a long way to affect the future and development of the Africa Child.
27.9 children between the ages of 5-17 years are into child labour . Very worrying 20.7% of these children are into worst forms of child labour including countless number of young girls who are lured into commercial sexual exploitation. This is so much of injustice that these children who are supposed to be in school or developing their careers find themselves in.
“Every generation needs a new revolution ”, the revolution we should be passionate about is towards the development of our children at all levels. We cannot continue to let our children suffer INJUSTICE all because some parents, guidance, community members, religious leaders, traditional leaders, etc. unfortunately are not doing much to address issues related to the development of our children.
Access to justice is Universal! Access to Justice for Children should be at All Times Not Sometimes! We need the media as monitoring agents; however, law enforcement agencies should not succumb to their involvement before issues related to violence, abuse and exploitation of children are adjudicated. I must commend the law enforcement agencies especially DOVVSU for their swift response on violence and abuse against children during this Covid 19 period.
If we fail to give Access to Justice to our children, the consequences cannot be quantified. Come to think of it; children who are sexually abused through defilement and incest and the case is settled within the families. It has a rippling effect on all of us, the future of our children and their development as well.
This year’s celebration on the day of the Africa Child is about “Access to Justice for our children” in Ghana one of the best and universal access to justice we can give to our children is for Cabinet, Parliament of Ghana and the People of Ghana to ratify the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This will give us an additional opportunity to critically commit to the eradication of sexual exploitation of children in our society.
Let’s make our children proud, from today let’s reflect deeply on how to improve upon the justice system for all children. There is always a BETTER WAY to develop our children.
Appreciation is the foundation for greatness, on behalf of Children in Africa and in Ghana, we say a Very Big Thank You to Government and Various Stakeholders for your Support in All Spheres of Development. We as a country can do, let’s make a living legacy for our children by improving on access and supremacy to Justice for all children in Ghana.
Parents let’s purchase face mask for our children, if possible, let’s not send our children on errands which could put them at higher risk, children stay home and observe social distancing. This one too shall pass very soon for us to reunite with our friends.
God bless our home land Ghana and make our nation and Children Great and strong. Thank you.