The Deputy Minister of Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), Mrs. Della Sowah, has called for urgent steps to eliminate harmful socio-cultural practices such as child marriage, in the country.
She said the human rights of children, particularly girls, were being violated, adding that they endured violence, humiliation and other associated abuses perpetrated by others and in the name of tradition.
Mrs Sowah said this in a speech read on her behalf by Mrs. Victoria Natsu, acting Head of the Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Secretariat at the ministry, to mark the Day of the African Child in Accra on Wednesday
The programme, held under the theme, ‘Accelerating our collective efforts to end child marriage in Ghana,’ was organised by MGCSP, in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Embassy and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and aimed at eliminating child marriage in Ghana.
The minister described child marriage as a harmful practice which severely affected the rights of children and deprived them of aspirations like education.
“The practice undermines the human development and capital resource of the country, as it denies victims the opportunity to develop their full potentials.’’
Mrs. Sowah said children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood, and not pushed hurriedly into marriage and burdened with parenting responsibilities when they themselves needed nurturing and guidance.
She called on stakeholders to join in the efforts to address the problem.
The deputy representative of UNICEF, Ms Rushnan Murtaza, said globally, more than 700 million women living today were married before they celebrated their 18th birthday.
She said ‘‘if nothing changes, up to 280 million girls alive today will become brides before they turn 18”.
Ms Murtaza stated that no child should be robbed of her childhood, education, health and aspirations.
By Anita Nyarko