Gender Ministry to present report at UN Session

Ghana is expected to present its final response to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child at the 69th Session of the Committee, at Palais Wilson in Geneva, from May 18 to 23.

The presentation to be made by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur will touch on a list of issues raised on the 3rd, 4th and 5th consolidated periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This is in accordance with the ministry’s mandate to secure the welfare and rights of children and formulate policies for their development.

In line with preparations towards the event, the ministry has held a mock on Ghana’s preparation for the upcoming event.

Panel members interrogated issues to be discussed at the session on the protection of children is concerned.

Among the possible issues to be discussed are: measures to eliminate discrimination against vulnerable children, particularly children with disabilities; steps to increase birth registration; measures to combat spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce poverty; legislation and awareness-raising to eradicate harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, early marriage and ritual servitude (Trokosi); measures to eradicate worst forms of child labour.

At the mock meeting in Accra yesterday chaired by Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, a former member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, various questions, clarifications and views were sought from the ministry from the panel members.

The panel discussion centred on pressing issues which bordered on the rights of the Ghanaian child and policies put in place to address them to ensure the full security of children.

Key issues discussed included non-discrimination against children, rights to life, best interests of the child, respect for their views, corporal punishment, abuse and neglect, adolescent health, children disabilities, adoption, child labour, trafficking and abduction and standard of living of children across the country.

Dr Aidoo bemoaned the annual budgetary allocation to the ministry, noting that it was insufficient to help in its operations and activities.

Dr Aidoo also questioned the ministry’s preparedness in dealing with the dangers business sectors such as agriculture, mining and oil posed to the health and rights of children, adding that “the Committee would want to know what laws and conventions you have put in place to protect children from such businesses that dispossess the lands from their families”.

She also sought to find out how the laws enacted to promote the rights of children were effectively implemented in the country.

In spite of this, she commended Ghana’s preparation for the upcoming conference.

A child’s right advocate, Mr Bright Appiah, interrogated what he referred to as the mismatch between the laws and conventions on the protection of children and the continuous use of corporal punishments on children in schools.

Even though Nana Oye expressed similar concerns on the budgetary allocation, she indicated that the ministry usually relied on internally generated funds (IGFs) and donor partners.

She stated that various interventions had been put in place to protect every child in the country.

Interventions such as reduction in the discrimination against persons with disabilities, cruel or traditional practices which infringed on the rights of the child and reduction in poverty had been put in place to ensure the security of the child, Nana Oye said.

“Ghana was the first country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) One by halving poverty before 2015,” she added.

Source : Graphic Online