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29.03.2006 Regional News

WCPRC launched at Takoradi

By GNA

Takoradi, March 29, GNA - Ms Dorothy Rozga, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative to Ghana, on Tuesday launched The World's Children's Prize For The Rights of the Child (WCPRC) programme in Ghana in Takoradi.

In an address, she said the WCPRC was organised by a Swedish organisation, Children's World and the prize was awarded each year to a child or adult that had made an extraordinary effort to defend the rights of children.

Ms Rozga said children from different countries participated in a global vote.

She said the prize promoted global friendship, democracy and child rights and afforded children the chance to learn about the rights of the child and democracy.

Ms Rozga said, "The WCPRC is about child participation" and changes occurred in children, including those in the most oppressed of situations, who participated in the programme.

She said, "In Ghana, as in many other countries, traditional practices and attitudes constitute formidable obstacles to the implementation of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other civil liberties".

Ms Rozga said the article states that, "The child has the right to freely express their views in matters affecting them and that views of the child should be given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child".

She said the right of the child to express views applies to family matters, the school, as well as relevant events taking place at the community level.

Ms Rozga said this did not mean that children should always get their way but their views should be taken into account. She said although parents continued to have ultimate responsibility for decisions, regarding the child, they have a duty to explain to them why they have taken a particular position.

"In this way, the child can develop decision making skills and good judgement and learn that their involvement and contribution are appreciated", Ms Rozga said.

Ms Ekua Ansah-Eshon, Programmes Coordinator of Advocates and Trainers For Women's Welfare, Advancement and Rights (ATWWAR), organisers of the global vote in the country, said the vote would take place from March 16 to April 7 this year.

She said about 127,000 pupils and students from 410 primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the Western, Ashanti, Greater Accra and Central regions would take part in the global vote.

Ms Ansah-Eshon said the majority of the participants were from the Western Region.

Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, unveiled the WCPRC Logo and commissioned 16 ambassadors or advocates of WCPRC, including Ms Rozga.

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