Journalists appeal for speedy prosecution of child related-abuses

Journalists at a day’s workshop on reducing child, early and forced marriages in Kumasi have appealed to the justice delivery system to ensure speedy prosecution of people involve in child right related abuses.

The workshop was organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFAID), through the Global Peace and Security Fund.

They said though Ghana had excellent laws and is signatory to various international conventions that protect children, lack of enforcement of such legislations thwarted effort to control child related abuses and regulations.

The about 70 journalists said if culprits of child right abuses were prosecuted with harsh sentences imposed on them, it would serve as deterrent to like-minded others.

Many of them admitted that though child right abuses especially forced/early marriages were on the increase in their localities, the support from the police and traditional authorities in reporting on the menace was not encouraging.

At Yeji in the Pru District of Brong-Ahafo Region, four girls were forced into marriage in 2012, one of the journalists recounted, and claimed that though the police in the area were aware, nothing positive had been done and the girls are staying with their husbands.

He alleged that many parents in the district, especially those in deprived communities, in the name of tradition, culture and religion, forced their teenage girls into marriage at the expense of their education.

“When this happens their in-laws provide for the needs of the parents who give their children out into marriage,” the journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.

Mr Asamoah Mensah, the Brong-Ahafo Regional President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), said child right violation was very rife in some parts of the region and needed radical approach to tackle it.

He appealed to the government to adequately resource the NCCE and the Department of Social Welfare to enable both institutions to partner with the police and other civil society organizations in addressing the abuses.

Mr Akumoah Boateng, Director of Programmes at the NCCE, said reporting on child right abuses was a sensitive area and appealed to the media to be circumspect in their reportage.

Mr Boateng appealed to the media to step up public education on the effects of early marriages, child exploitation and other related abuses as well as laws and penalties stipulated for offenders. GNA

A link to the article can be found here.