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06.04.2006 Regional News

Children can support Parents

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Accra, April 6, GNA - Children, who assists their parents to generate income; are not engaged in child labour, if it does not affect their education, health or general development.

Mr Peter Eduful, Acting Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC), who made this known to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said though it was traditionally accepted for children to support their family, it was an offence for them to become the main source of income.

"Why should we describe children, who after school help their parents to carry cocoa pods from the farm to their home, as involved in child labour?" He asked.

He condemned some nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) for altering the definition of the term 'Child Labour' to generate controversies, to tarnish the image of the country.

Mr Eduful said GNCC under the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs had through research, established that some forms of child labour existed in the country but this was minimal and GNCC was working closely with the Department of Social Welfare and Metropolitan Assemblies to resolve the issue.

"District assemblies are to be also educated to understand the Children's Act, let them know the mandate and to get them to even budget for children".

He said parents should not use poverty as an excuse to shirk their responsibilities that would force the children to hawk on streets for their livelihood.

"What the Ministry of Women and Children hates is to see children selling by the road side, since they are exposed to several dangers, such as accidents and other criminal acts", Mr Eduful said. The Acting Executive Secretary said the Department would initiate laws that would ensure that consumers would not buy from children who hawked on the streets.

He said the Ministry would organise a forum to bring together NGOs to discuss ways to curtail the situation adding that more personnel would be recruited at the regional level to create the needed awareness. Mr Eduful said as part of the International Family Day celebration, which falls on May 15 every year GNCC would organise programmes to educate parents to play their expected role, to get children out of labour.

He said the celebration which would be on the theme: "Responsible Parenting", would sensitise religious leaders to disseminate the Child Labour Act to their congregation.