Kumasi, Aug 01, GNA – The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Ghana, has called for chiefs to give strong backing to child protection laws.
It asked that they actively supported the implementation of the Child and Family Welfare and the Justice for Children policies approved by the government to establish an effective child and family welfare systems to save the Ghanaian child from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
Ms. Johanna Eriksson Takyo, UNICEF Ghana Chief of Child Protection Programme, noted that thenation still ranked among those with the highest rates of physical abuse of children globally.
Sexual abuse of children had kept happening on regular basis, she added.
She was speaking at a meeting with members of the National House of Chiefs (NHC) in Kumasi held to brief them on the new policies, which takes into account the strengths of existing community structures and traditions.
Chiefs are expected to serve as important linkage between state agencies and the communities in the implementation of the policies.
The policies encourage the role of traditional leaders in facilitating peaceful settlement of disputes involving children and support to restore abuse victims to normal life, while creating cohesion in communities and healing the family as a whole.
Ms.Takyoindicated that, thousands of Ghanaian children continued to face serious and complex protection issues – about 20 per cent of them engaged in hazardous and exploitative forms of labour.
Again, child trafficking was continuing and in excess of 30,000 girls forced into marriage and dropping out of school every year.
She pointed out that children needed the collective support and solidarity of everybody to promote their growth and development.
She acknowledged the enormous influence of traditional leaders – their social clout, and said their backing of the new policies was vital for their successful implementation.
WuluguNaba, Naa Professor John S. Nabila, President of the House, pledged the support of the chiefs to provide adequate protection for children.