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Regional News of Monday, 18 July 2011

Source: GNA

Protect children against violence - GNCRC

Saltpond (C/R), July 18, GNA - A workshop on Juvenile Justice Administration for stakeholders in the Mfantseman Municipality has been held at Saltpond.

The two-day workshop was organised by the Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC), and was attended by Municipal Social Welfare Officers, Judicial Service Staff, representatives of the Police, DOVVSU, Commission for Civic Education and others.

The workshop was aimed at combating all forms of violence against children, who are in conflict with the law.

Mrs Baaba Brew Fleischer, Central Regional Liaison Officer of GNCRC said though Ghana was the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and also acceded to international conventions, children were deprived of their liberty.

She said children in conflict of the law were placed in justice institutions, where they depend on the professionals and state officials, such as police officers, prosecutors, probation officers, social workers and correction officers.

Mrs Fleischer said the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child states that arrest, detention and improvement of children must be used as a last resort.

Barimba Akwasi Amankwah, Programme Officer of GNCRC urged Metropolitan, Municipal and district Assemblies to encourage the formation of Child Panels in the communities to protect the rights of the child.

He urged the assemblies to allow children to participate in the assemblies' decision making, especially those which affect children.

Barimba Amankwah appealed to society to find alternative forms of conflict resolution.

Mr Sadrach Frimpong, Programme Officer, Plan Ghana called for regular sensitisation of the police to observe child rights at the time of arrest. He said under no circumstances must a child be handcuffed.

Mr Frimpong said the long-term consequence of punishment must be taken into account before applying it on a child, adding that, a child must not be kept in a prison meant for adults.

He called on MMDAs to provide Juvenile Homes in all district capitals attached to police stations, where juveniles could be kept.