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Regional News of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Source: GNA

Government fulfill obligations to address rights of the child - Minister

Government had fulfilled its obligations under the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to address the needs of the vulnerable and has prioritized its interventions for girls.

The obligation covers children with disabilities and asylum seekers, refugee and children exposed to sexual and gender-based violence, children living with HIV/AIDS and children living or working on the streets.

Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection stated at a mock session in defence of Ghana's 3rd, 4th and 5th consolidated report to the United Nation's (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The mock session was organized by the Department of Children, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Accra, on Wednesday.

The Gender Minister said Ghana made history on February 5, 1990 for being the first country to ratify the UN CRC and had since been guided by the country’s 1992 Constitution.

The Constitution guarantees the rights of children and enjoins Parliament to enact laws to further realise the rights and ensure the well-being of children.

Nana Oye Lithur said the most prevalent disabilities in Ghana are mobility, sight, speech and hearing difficulties.

She said data from the Department of Social Welfare indicates a reduction in the number of registered children with disabilities from 1,834 in 2002 to 937 in 2003, 485 in 2004, 1,068 in 2008 and as at the end of 2013 the number stood at 445.

Nana Oye Lithur said Ghana is noted by the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS as one of the countries in West Africa whose prevalence declined by more than 25 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

She said the success chalked by the nation in reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS can be attributed to a number of policy and programmes interventions, awareness-raising campaign, capacity building for relevant staff and direct support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Gender Minister said on December 15, 2014 the ministry closed down the Bonyase Witch Camp in the Northern Region where 55 inmates were integrated into their communities whilst the Ministry is currently working with other stakeholders to close down two more camps, which have children as part of the inmates.

She noted that there has been a reduction in poverty in Ghana and the reduction at the household level has indirect effects on childhood poverty.

Nana Oye Lithur said Ghana is noted as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) one target of halving the population living in extreme poverty ahead of 2015.

She said government in the education strategic plan 2010 - 2020 recognizes the contribution of the private sector to education in Ghana, noting that, at all levels, nearly one in five children is educated in a private institution and has always encouraged the participation and partnership of the private sector in education delivery.