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General News of Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Gender Ministry, UNFPA launch child marriage information portal

Chief Director  of the Ministry of Gender, Children Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakariah Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakariah

In furtherance of the fight against child marriage in the country, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have launched a portal which will serve as hub for information on child marriage issues.

With the arrival of the portal, the Ministry seeks to provide a platform for accurate and comprehensive data and information on child marriage-related issues in the country.

The portal also creates the room for people from across the country to report child marriages and forms of child abuses in the country.

Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, September 29, 2021, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children Social Protection emphasized the need for a concerted effort from Ghanaians to pull the brakes on the menace.

Dr Afisah Zakariah disclosed that under the constitution of Ghana, the marriage of any person below the age of 18 years is a crime and must be viewed as such.

She revealed the devastating impact of child marriage on the victims and made a clarion call on Ghanaians to help end it.

“Child marriage is a union between two parties in which both or one is under the age of 18 years. It is a form of domestic violence that limits a young girl of her skills and abilities, resources, knowledge, social support, mobility and autonomy.

‘Young married girls have little power in relation to decisions that their husbands and families make for them. They are therefore extremely vulnerable to domestic violence abuses which include physical, sexual or psychological abuse and abandonment. The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2017/18 indicated that, Greater Accra had the least cases of child marriage representing 8% while Northern and Upper East Regions recorded the highest cases of 28% respectively.

“The practice of child marriage is an offence before the 1992 constitution which pecks the acceptable age of marriage at 18 years. Child marriage has implications on the health, economic, social and the general development of the individual, the family and the nation as a whole,” she said.

Agnes Kayitankore, the UNFPA representative in Ghana urged the world to stand up against the menace.

She revealed that one out of every five children, is a victim of child marriage which is a disturbing record.

"We at UNFPA promote policies, programmes and legislation designed to end child marriage and all other forms of harmful practices that disproportionately affect women and girls," she said.

She added that, "the quest to end gender-based violence in all its forms is central to our mandate, which is anchored on our three transformative goals aimed at accelerating results and securing the rights and dignity of all by 2030.”

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