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21.10.2008 Social News

Amnesty International Promotes Gender Equality In Schools

By Sandra Nyamekye -

AS part of its human rights promotion activities in schools, Amnesty International-Ghana, on Friday organised a maiden inter-schools drama competition for senior high schools in Accra.

Accra Senior High School emerged the winner while Odorgonno Senior High School took the second position with Labone placing third.

The competition which had the theme: “Stop violence against women-safe schools for girls” was aimed at promoting gender equality and women empowerment.

The drama depicted the importance of education, promoting gender equality and campaigning against violence towards women.

For their prizes, each of the winners received packages including learning materials, certificates for participation from Amnesty and GH¢100 among others.

In a speech read on his behalf, the director of Amnesty International, Ghana, Michael A. Brigand, expressed the organisers' commitment to champion gender equality and women empowerment as described by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs3) which aims to, “Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education not later than 2015.

He said the organisation will continue to expose and condemn discrimination against women and girls in all forms, adding that a significant obstacle to the achievement of all the MDGs is violence against women and girls.

Mr Brigand identified gender equality and women empowerment as keys to achieving all MDGs.

“I pledge that Amnesty International will promote the right of women, especially those living in poverty, to participate actively in the design, implementation and evaluation of the MDG action plans”, he said.

Mr Brigand stressed that girls must be able to pursue their education in a safe environment, devoid of fear and harassment and added that violence against them in school is a human right violation and a key factor in preventing girls' access to education.

“Violence leads to long-term harm to girls' mental and physical health, compelling many of them to drop out of school or discourage them to participate fully in school”, he noted.

Touching on education, he said, all girls have the right to education and to be independent and make their own choices in their lives.

Mr Brigand recommended that government enact and enforce appropriate laws, polices and procedures that will prohibit all forms of violence against girls.

“Governments must ensure that all schools are safe environments for girls and free from gender based violations.