Forced marriage
Forced marriage

Early and forced marriages are recording upward trends in the Nkoranza North District

and Kintampo North Municipality in the Brong-Ahafo Region, despite intervention of the European

Union (EU) and partners to control the criminal practice.

Forced marriageThough the practice is criminal under the Children Act 560, 1998 and the Criminal

and Offences Act 29/60, available statistics showed that 106 cases were recorded from

September 2014 to June 2015 in the two areas.

The practice, notably among girls between the ages of 13 and 16 years, is rife at

Gurumpe, Kawampe, Babatokuma in the Kintampo North and Senya, Dinkra and Timiabu in the

Nkoranza North.

Mr. Thomas Benarkuu, the Project Coordinator of Mission of Hope Society

International (MIHOSO), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), made this known at a

community sensitization durbar on the practice at Senya on Tuesday.

He said 13 cases of forced and early marriages had been rescued in the two

districts, and that most of the victims had been enrolled in Junior High Schools.

The durbar was attended by some selected Heads of Departments at the

Nkoranza North District Assembly, assembly members, chiefs and queen-mothers, as well as

some representatives of the EU.

It was in line with a two-year project being implemented by MIHOSO and the

Gender Studies and Human Right Documentation Center another (NGO) with funding from the

EU.

The project aimed at reducing the criminal practice among adolescent girls

in the two areas, through promoting and protecting the rights of teenage girls in the

project implementing districts.

Mr. Benarkuu noted that because communities where the practice was rife

regarded it as tradition, controlling the practice had become difficult, as some

traditional rulers and parents obstructed efforts being made to control it.

He said cases of teenage pregnancy and defilement were also rife in the

areas, and therefore appealed to the Police and the Judiciary to expedite prosecution on

reported cases.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ambrose Aboagye, the Nkoranza North District

Police Commander, noted that punishment for perpetrators of forced and early marriages was

not punitive at all.

He observed that the penalty of GHC500 fine or a jail term not exceeding one year or

both, under section 15 of the Children Act for perpetrators of the practice needed to be

amended so that harsh sentences would be imposed on them to serve as deterrent to like-

minded persons.

Mr. Ignacio Burrull, the Head of Cooperation of the EU, stressed that children,

especially girls must be provided with the opportunity to grow and make informed choices

that would make them responsible adults.

He said child abuse was serious offence under international conventions, and advised

parents, traditional rulers, government and other relevant institutions to support in

addressing the problem.

Mr. Burrull said it was a collective and shared responsibility of society to ensuring

that every child accessed formal education and therefore commended the project

implementing partners for their commitment.

Nana Adusei Sarfo Kotoko the first, the Chief of Senya, who presided, noted that

forced and early marriages were being done in secret and advised the local people to

support the project by providing the implementers with information.

Mr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, the Chief Executive Officer of MIHOSO, which works to

promote and protect the rights of children, youth and women lauded the Senya community for

its communal labour spirit.

He said communities which initiated self-help projects would attract the support of

both local and international NGOs in facilitating growth and development.

Mr. Benarkuu entreated the local people to refrain from over-reliance on

government resources, and contribute their quota towards community development.

Source : GNA/newsghana.com.gh

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