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24.01.2006 General News

We would make lives of paedophiles a living hell

By GNA

Accra, Jan 24, GNA - Mr Kwadjo Opare-Hammond, the Member of Parliament for Adenta, on Tuesday said he was mobilising people and resources to fight against the growing phenomenon of child sex and abuse perpetrated by older people.

"As a nation and a people concerned about the future, we must act or use any means necessary to protect our young ones from dangerous people and ideas."

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, he said as a lawmaker he would seek to lobby the government to review and strengthen laws that protect minors.

Mr Opare-Hammond was sharing his thoughts on the reported cases of paedophilia (child sex) and abuse that dominated public discourse last week.

He said he would have sponsored a private member's bill but would not be able to afford it.

"In our system, the private members bill is very expensive and cumbersome so I will rather use my position as an MP to lobby the government to push through such a bill."

He said child sex offenders are becoming very discreet and cunning hence the need to adopt the appropriate strategies to bring them to book.

"Certain countries are contemplating castration while others publish the name and portrait of offenders in public places such as buses for easy identification. We should use some of these radical measures to stop this growing evil."

He said the Ghanaian society was to blame for the rise in paedophilia because a lot of affected families prefer to negotiate it off silently with the offender while others just blame the poor child for being "spoilt".

Mr Opare-Hammond said the courts do not also help in these matters because procedures that are followed favours the strong and in most cases the victims are the weaker ones.

"We should be thinking about the future of the child who had been raped. We should think through his or her emotions, psychology, anatomy and even financial security before a case is concluded."

He said society was gradually making enemies for itself for refusing or neglecting its role as protector of the vulnerable. "Such people find reason to hate decency and organised society when they grow up. Society should sit up!"

He scolded the Church and other religious organisations for been quite on the issue.

"I expect religious organisations to stand up for the moral cause. I expect them to put pressure on the government to enact the necessary legislations that would be ably enforced to protect minors." The member advised parents to live up to their responsibilities as the lack of it exposes children to all sorts of dangerous elements and ideas.

"But if the unfortunate happens, never, I say never cover up for anyone for God's sake."

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