The United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) has called on traders to not shy away from discussing reproductive and sexual health issues with their wards.
Mrs Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, UNFPA’s Programme Analyst, Communication and Resource Mobilisation Officer, said parents should be able to talk freely about sexual and reproductive issues with their wards in order to prevent them from finding answers themselves.
Mrs Aglobitse said this to traders at the Kaneshie market, where the United Nations Information Centre held a durbar to sensitize women on the dangers of child trafficking, child labour and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event was also held to 70 years of the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
She said when children leave their parents and look elsewhere for clarity on issues on reproductive health, they end up being taught the wrong things by their peers.
Mrs Aglobitse said this is responsible for the huge numbers of teenage pregnancy, illegal abortion, early parenthood and sometimes in extreme cases premature deaths of young adolescents.
She said the burden of sexual awareness and orientation fell on parents, schools and societal institutions.
“The youth between the ages of 18 to 24, are vulnerable because of the perception they have of being adults. They sometimes think because they are allowed to exercise their franchise, they are misguided into thinking they are matured, when in fact, they are not.
“It is because of this that parents and governments must invest in the education of these vulnerable youths, especially in the female sex. Because like Dr James Kwegyir-Aggrey said, ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation’.
We should be able with conscious effort educate the youth on their sexual orientation, in order for them to become good citizens and the future leaders that this country requires”, she said.
The UNFPA’s Programme Analyst, Communication and Resource Mobilisation Officer, also said there is the need to also invest in the health and leadership or moral upbringing of the youth.
“Because we are already adults and have already made up our minds about our morals, we need to make sure we invest also in the moral upbringing and leadership of the youth if we want to get honest and incorruptible leaders someday”, she said.
Mr Mawuli Avutor, the Deputy Director of Public Education, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said educating the traders on child labour and child trafficking is important as they were serious human rights violations worldwide and a grave concern.
He said a current study by UNICEF estimates that 23 percent of Ghanaian children are engaged in some form of economic activity.
Mr Avutor said it has been revealed by the Ghana Living Standards Survey that 8.7 million children age 5-17 which represents 21.8 percent are engaged in child labour.
A UNESCO data publication on school enrolment indicates that 58 million children of primary school age and 63 million children of Junior High School age are still not enrolled in school.
He said is a clear indication that children of school going age are not attending schools and this threatens the future of the nation.
He urged the traders to help in this regard by ensuring that their children are in school and not engaged in activities that would prevent them from schooling.
Mrs Cynthia Prah, the National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre, delivering a message on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, said the Day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of seven decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration.
She said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the equality and dignity of every human being and stipulates that every government has a duty to enable all to enjoy all their inalienable rights and freedoms.
She said “we all have a right to live free from all forms of discrimination.
We have a right to education, healthcare, economic opportunities and a decent standard of living. We have rights to privacy and justice.”
These rights, she said, are relevant to all every day adding that, they are the foundation of peaceful societies and sustainable development.
Mrs Prah said since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration in 1948, it has helped much more to gain greater freedom and security, helped to prevent rights violations, obtain justice for wrongs and strengthen national and international human rights laws.
She urged the public to stand up for all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural values that underpin our hope for a fairer, safer and better world.