Friday, 20th November 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. On this occasion, a nation-wide coalition of NGOs is calling on the Government of Ghana to make the protection of child rights a priority in 2021and beyond.
Thirty years ago, Ghana made a historic commitment by being the first country in the world to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood and the basic rights that every child is entitled to.
But is there reason to celebrate? Still today, not every child in Ghana gets to enjoy a full childhood. Too many children and youth are still deprived of their basic rights; the right to a safe home, the right to education and health care, the right to be protected from violence, maltreatment and abuse. Children that are living and working on the streets are particularly vulnerable.
A nation-wide coalition of NGOs is calling on the Government of Ghana to make the protection of child rights a priority in 2021 and beyond. A poignant videoclip vividly shows the bad situation that Ghana’s street connected children live in. ‘We have the right to education. So why are we not in school?’ is one of the pressing questions asked by youth activists Ayisha and Gladys in the clip. They continue asking; ‘Too many of us are sleeping on the streets. Who is protecting us?’. Ayisha and Gladys have first-hand experience of working and living on the streets of Kumasi, and can testify of the challenging conditions, poverty and abuse that young children have to survive on the streets on a daily basis.
‘‘We produced this clip with good reason. Progress has been made since 1990, but there is more work to do. It is unacceptable that in 2020 there are still thousands of children roaming the streets of Ghana. It is up to our generation to demand that leaders from government and communities fulfil their responsibilities and take action for child rights now, once and for all.’’ explains Sr. Olivia Umoh, director of Safe-Child Advocacy, one of the leading organisations of the coalition. ‘We call on the Government of Ghana to commit to making sure ALL children in Ghana can enjoy their basic rights. Let us join forces and work together to achieve this laudable goal.’ She adds.
On 7thDecember, the people of Ghana will be electing their president and government for the coming 4 years. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, the coalition of NGOs is keen to work together with the newly elected president and government officials to make 2021 the year of the Children of Ghana. The coalition consists of a great number of professional organisations with many years of hands-on experience with working with street connected children and youth. The organisations are knowledgeable and well-informed on the issues at hand. ‘We look forward to join hands with the Government of Ghana to develop a National Action Plan for Street Connected Children. The right time is now.’
The following organisations are part of the coalition: Safe-Child Advocacy; Centre for Development and Advocacy Policy-Ghana; Centre for Initiative Against Human Trafficking; Muslim Family Counselling Services; Service Awareness Support Organization; Song-Ba Empowerment Centre; Starlight Foundation; Urban Poor Child Organisation; Vulnerable Aid Organization-Ghana; Adamfo Ghana. For more information kindly contact Sr. Umoh: Mobile: 0540264454 and 0244881844.
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