Students of SOS Children?s Village Bangui run out of school at the end of classes
Students of SOS Children?s Village Bangui run out of school at the end of classes

Mr Padmore Baffour Agyapong, Country Director, Compassion International Ghana, has called on stakeholders to stop unfavourable cultural practices that affect children.

Students of SOS Children?s Village Bangui run out of school at the end of classes

He said children should rather be given a voice and to be holistically protected.

This, he said, would ensure that children?s basic human rights are not trampled upon, especially in African countries, where their views are not taken into account, even in decisions affecting them.

Compassion has called on stakeholders to involve children in the decision making process especially about issues affecting them and allow them to exercise their basic human rights.

The Country Director said these in a speech read on his behalf at Adidome in the Volta Region, over the weekend, when the NGO organised a programme to mark World Human Rights Day celebrated on December 10 every year, and the Day of African Child.

The theme for the celebration was: ?Child Protection: Our Collective Responsibility.?

The African Union initiated the Day of the African Child in June 16, 1991 in remembrance to the children who lost their lives in 1976, in a peaceful protest in Soweto, South Africa to demand their rights to education.

Years on, Mr Agyapong said, thousands of African children including Ghana are still struggling to get affordable and quality education because they have no voice and no say in decisions that affect them.

?As adults, we rightly claim that the freedom of speech is a human right, much as participation in decision making is. Why have children been denied the same rights to express their opinions on issues bothering on their welfare?? he asked.

He said often adults negotiate on issues that have negative consequences on children without their consent.

The Country Director gave instances of defilement cases in some communities his outfit is handling, that could not be prosecuted because parents had negotiated with the culprits and taken money without the slightest consideration of the children?s views.

This, he said, constitutes the highest breach of trust against children and advised adults/parents to allow the full force of the law in defilement cases, adding
?the family is the best place where good governance can be nurtured, and so children must be given a voice in the home?.

Mr Agyapong noted that research has proved that many of the abuses children suffer such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), puberty rites, forced marriages, trokosi, child labour, and child trafficking are deeply rooted in cultural practices, ?and blinded the perpetrators into believing that whatever they do to children is their divine right?.

He stated: ?As a child advocacy organisation, we are saddened by the continuous reports of the practice of FGM in some parts of the country. It is humanly wrong for anyone to arrogate to him or herself, the right to take any part of a girl?s body.?

?God in his divine wisdom knew the purpose of every part of a girl?s body and created it.?

The country Director, therefore, called for an abrupt end to such cultural practices against children, as they trample on their basic human rights, and urged stakeholders committed to the wellbeing of children to form a collective voice against all forms of abuses and rather protect them.

He urged adults to move beyond condemning child abuses/labour and holistically protect children by offering them their rights to affordable and quality education, and a family to live with.

As part of the activities children were quizzed on the convention on the rights of children to enable them to know their rights and responsibilities.

They also performed dance drama depicting their responsibilities.

He added that Compassion Ghana has 57,000 registered children in five regions of the country, whose education are being sponsored.

GNA

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