This, she said people could do by reporting such ill activities against children including child marriage, forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), hate crimes, faith or belief linked child abuse and honour-based abused practices to the police, other authorities or elderly persons they trusted.
Ms Dapaah also encouraged Ghanaians to join the Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) Initiative to help put an end to these harmful cultural practices against children in the country.
The Caretaker Minister of MoGCSP said this in a statement read on her behalf by the Chief Director, Dr AfisahZakariah, at this year’s African Union (AU) Day of the African Child (DAC)in Accra yesterday.
The AU Assembly in 1991 passed a resolution designating June 16 as the DAC in commemoration of the 1976 students’ uprising in Soweto, South Africa against an apartheid regime that had skewed education towards the white minority.
This year’s DAC is being marked on the theme “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practices since 2013.”
Ms Dapaah said the theme was selected with the focus to commit member states to undertake assessments of the legislative and policy frameworks established since 2013, and to also to mobilise partnership among stakeholders, including United Nations agencies, Civil Society Organisations, children’s representatives, traditional leaders, the media and the academia to work towards the elimination of harmful cultural practices against children in Africa.
As such, she said the ministry and its partners since 2013 had implemented several programmes and enacted legislations to address these harmful practices.
“However, this has not been enough especially because harmful practices are persistent practices and are often grounded on cultural and traditional values,” she added.
Ms Dapaah said child marriage remained one of the most harmful practices against children as its prevalence in the country was at a rate of 19 per cent, hence the nationwide drive to strategise and coordinate efforts on ending child marriage.
She said data available showed that FGM in the country had reduced to a 3.8 prevalence rate but the five regions of the north still led the data.
“Spirit child phenomenon where children born with deformities are considered spirits or outcast and unfit to live among members of society is most prevalent in the Kasesena-Nankana East and West districts as well as in Bongo and Bolgatanga,” Ms Dapaah added.
Ms Barbara Asare, Campaigns Coordinator, World Vision International, inlight of thatcalled on the government to enforce laws and policies linked to the elimination of harmful practices affecting children.
She also urged the government to strengthen collaborations with relevant stakeholders working in the area of children’s rights to reinforce their efforts in addressing obstacles related to these practices.
“Commit adequate financial resources to address and eliminate harmful practices against children,” Ms Asare added.