Ghana reaffirms commitment to improve child rights
Geneva, May 22, GNA - Government has prioritised interventions for girls, children with disabilities, children of asylum seekers, refugee children and children of immigrants.
Government has also made issues concerning children exposed to sexual and gender-based violence, children living with HIV and AIDS and children living or working on the streets precedence.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection made this known in Geneva, Switzerland during the presentation of Ghana's third, fourth and fifth consolidated periodic report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The report assessed the progress made by government in regards to the advancement of implementation and the status of children in terms of adherence to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the realisation of their rights and freedoms at home, school and all other places in which they often find themselves, and the provision of their needs.
The session was chaired by Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur who is also the Chairperson 18- Member Committee of Experts.
Nana Oye Lithur explained that to address the situation of girls lagging behind boys in accessing education, the establishment of a Girls' Education Unit (GEU) within the Basic Education Division of the Ghana Education Service (GES) of the Ministry of Education has given new impetus to the removal of barriers.
She said another intervention by government tagged: 'Take Home Ration,' through the GES and the World Food Programme in the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions, which has helped to bridge the gender disparity in education in deprived communities.
'Currently, food rations have been provided to 90,000 girls in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions,' she said.
For children with disabilities, Nana Oye Lithur said most prevalent disabilities noted in Ghana are mobility, sight, speech and hearing difficulties.
She said data from the Department of Social Welfare indicates a reduction in the number of registered children with disabilities from 1,834 in 2002 to 937 in 2003, and 485 in 2004 and 1,068 in 2008.
'As at the end of 2013, the number stood at 445. Government has also directed the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to allocate two per cent of the District Assemblies' Common Fund to support persons with disabilities and other vulnerable children in every district with basic assistance.
'To ensure better regulation of adoption in Ghana, a moratorium has been in place since 2013 to allow for a review of the processes for adoption.
'As part of the review processes, a central authority is being established by the end of June 2015,' she said.
The UN-CRC 69 Session started on May 18 and expected to end on June 5. Ghana would appear on May 20 and May 21.
The independent experts of UN-CRC monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its state parties.
It also monitors implementation of two optional protocols to the convention, on involvement of children in armed conflict and on sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution
The report assesses the progress made by government in regards to the advancement of implementation and the status of children in terms of adherence to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the realisation of their rights and freedoms at home, school and all other places in which they often find themselves, and the provision of their needs.
The report also chronicles responses of child-focused state institutions in their efforts to ensure children's rights and improve their access to quality education, health care, social welfare, protection and all other areas that affect child development from 2005 to 2010.
Children's voices have also been echoed in the report.
The report reveals modest achievements made and challenges encountered by government and its partners to address important needs and gaps of children in the enjoyment of their rights in Ghana.
It also responds to certain important observations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the previous reports submitted by Ghana to the Committee.