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UN recognises Ghana’s commitment to child rights

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The United Nations has commended Ghana for her continued efforts and commitment to the rights of every child, 30 years after signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Mr Nicolas Charles Pron, the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Special Adviser on High Level Events, Initiatives and Partnerships, in his commendation, encouraged Ghana to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention.

The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography would send a signal to all those engaged in such practices that government had zero tolerance for such activities.

Mr Pron was speaking in Accra at the launch of the 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Accra.

The CRC was signed and adopted by Member States of the United Nations on November 20, 1989, and has become the world most widely ratified human treaty, which sets out basic and universal standards for a healthy, protected and decent childhood for every human being.

Ghana became the first country to adhere to the CRC by ratifying the Convention on January 29, 1990.

Mr Pron congratulated the Government for its perseverance to providing an enabling environment for children in Ghana to attain the best education, starting from age four.

He said recent data had revealed a decline in completion rates of primary school pupils adding that exclusive breastfeeding rates and sanitation also continued to be issues of concern.

Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, the Member of Parliament for Atwima Kwanwoma, said it was sad to note that the rights of millions of children were being violated on daily basis in the country.

He said the rising level of child poverty, teenage pregnancy, lack of educational and livelihood opportunities, high child mobility and mortality ratios, violence, abuse and exploitation of children, child labour and trafficking were the few of the rights of children violated in Ghana.

Dr Appiah-Kubi, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection, said the Committee, as part of its advocacy to end child rights violations, would be highlighting some of those violations in the course of the year.

That, he said, would be done through media briefings, statements in Parliament and organising high level child right events.

Ghana in 1989 synchronized its previously existing child care legislation to conform to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and created the Children’s Act 1989, Act 560.

Since then a number of legislative and policy frameworks including the Child and Welfare Policy, National Justice for Children Policy, Inclusive Education Policy, Trafficking Act, Juvenile Justice Act (568), Adolescent Health Service Policy and Strategy and Expanded Programme on Immunization Policy have been enacted.

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