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16.10.2008 Social News

Give priority to children in emergency situations - NGOs told

By gna

The government and NGOs have been urged to place special emphasis on the protection and distribution of relief items to children and the vulnerable in conflict and emergency situations.

A consultant on children's protection at the United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF), who made the appeal, noted that children suffered from neglect and violence during emergencies.

Mr. Iddrissu Abdallah, who was speaking at a two-day workshop on “Child protection in emergencies” in Tamale on Thursday, said staff of certain NGOs used their positions in times of emergencies to deny children of food or sexually exploit them.

Representatives from the Ghana Police Service, Northern Peace Council, Ghana Red Cross Society, Department of Women, NCCE and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), attended the workshop, an initiative of the UNICEF and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

The two-day forum seeks to equip the participants, drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, with the requisite tools to respond to the needs of children during emergencies.

Mr. Abdallah stressed the need to target children and the elderly in the distribution of resources in emergency situations since they were the most vulnerable who could not physically fight for their rights or protect themselves.

He expressed regret that in conflict and emergency situations such as war, flood and drought, politicians rather concentrate on infrastructure to the neglect of the basic survival needs of the vulnerable.

He called on the media to effectively play its advocacy role by bringing to the fore the plight of children in emergency situations and the need for their protection.

Alhaji Haruna Sulemana, Northern Regional Director of the NCCE, called for peaceful elections in December, saying violence was detrimental to the welfare of children and the elderly.

He urged the electorate to be wary of politicians who would attempt to incite them to violence for their own selfish political ends.

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