The Wa Municipal Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has organised a two-day forum to create awareness and strengthen civil society advocacy to reduce forced marriages in communities in the Municipality.

Mr. Hamidu Haruna, the Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare who gave an overview of early child and force marriages in the Region at the forum, suggested to the government to establish temporary shelters for girls who have been rescued from forced marriages in order to retune their minds before sending them back to school.

He said penalty units for human rights abusers in the country?s justice system should be raised to serve as a deterrent to people who perpetrate child and other forms of abuse of teenage girls in the rural and peri-urban communities in the country.

The forum was organised with financial support from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development through the Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF)

Mr. Haruna said there was the need for intensified efforts to ensure that girls are not forced to abandon their education because of abductions, elopement, rape and forced marriages.

If this was allowed to continue, he said, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education would not be achieved.

According to ActionAid in Ghana these practices are more prevalent in Jirapa, Lambussie/Karni and Sissala West Districts of the Upper West region where it recorded 156 cases in 2010.

In 2011 it registered 210 cases in these same districts but through education and activities of Community Bases Anti Violence Teams (COMBAT) only 57 cases were recorded in 2012. GNA

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