The Defence for Children International, an NGO, has called for the nation to make the fight against child abuse and neglect an urgent priority.

        Dr. George Oppong, its Executive Secretary, expressed deep worry that substantial number of Ghanaian children continued to suffer all forms of abuse in spite of interventions to give them protection.

       Many are pushed into early marriages, engage in forced labour, commercial sex, maltreated and neglected.

       This was contained in a speech read for him at a ceremony held to commemorate this year’s International Day of the African Child in Kumasi.

      “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030”, was the theme chosen for this year’s event, organized by the NGO.

        The day is marked annually to put a spotlight on child right issues – raise awareness and focus attention on issues inhibiting their development and growth.

         Dr. Oppong underlined the need to create safe environment and opportunities for them to receive quality education, have access to healthcare and decent accommodation.

        He said it was in everybody’s interest and that of the society, that children were nurtured and helped to grow into responsible adults.

        Ms. Augustina Gyamfi, Ashanti Regional Director of the Department of Gender, indicated that it was illegal to mete out any form of abuse to the child and urged everybody to be bold to report offenders to the appropriate state institutions.

        She reminded community and opinion leaders to take centre stage in the campaign to safeguard the rights of the child.

The Reverend Stephen Darfour, Regional Director of the Department of Children, said they had been working in concert with civil society organizations towards the protection of children.

GNA