Government is being urged to work speedily to build a new remand home for boys who fall foul of the law after it emerged no such facility is operating across the country.
The only such facility, the Boys Remand Home at Osu was burnt down on 28th December 2018 leaving the whole country without any such facility. This is according to a statement from the Girls’ Advocacy Alliance.
According to the statement, “It is unacceptable to see children at the police cells and this is a total violation of the rights of children which has to be addressed with immediate effect. The state should immediately provide at least one remand home for children in the country.”
The Girls’ Advocacy Alliance also expressed concern about the recent series of kidnapping of girls in some parts of the country and urged an increased public security agencies collaboration to get to the bottom of the issue.
Below is the full statement.
HAPPENINGS OF CHILD RIGHTS SITUATION AND VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN GHANA
The Girls Advocacy Alliance partners; Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC), Plan International Ghana and Defence for Children, Ghana in collaboration with Women’s Forum-GBA, would like to share with your outfit some of our demands to government and other key stakeholders in ensuring that girls and women are well protected, promoted and empowered to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
Quite recently, there has been the incidence of kidnapping and abducting particularly girls and young women in Western and Volta region and we stakeholders working for the interest of children and women deem it very worrying and therefore expect the security agencies to be more proactive in addressing these incidences. Chapter 5, Article 12 to Article 15 of the constitution of Ghana 1992 emphasizes fundamental human rights and freedoms of citizens. Hence it is the duty of the state to protect all citizens to guarantee their right to life, while it remains the responsibility of all to promote their security by avoiding dangerous places and people.
We are also calling on citizens to collaborate with the security agencies through the provision of relevant and reliable information they may have regarding the current kidnapping of the girls.
We are also calling on citizens not to fear working with the security agencies so as to bring an end to these incidences. We believe if the security agencies are able to apprehend these individuals in society it will shatter the expansion of this bad and unwanted behaviour to other parts of the country.To this end, we want the affected families to have trust in the security agencies and further collaborate with them during these difficult moments. We furthermore, wish to admonish individuals to report any suspicious individuals and conversations to the security agencies to avoid any future kidnapping. Girls and young women especially should be in touch with their family and friends at all times and inform them about the name and address of any friend they are visiting or socializing with.
Secondly, we are very much worried about justice for children situation in the country. Currently, across the whole country, we do not have a remand home to house boys who are in conflict or in contact with the law. This is an unacceptable practice which the state should immediately provide at least one remand home for children in the country.
We will recall that the remand home in Kumasi was closed down about 10 years ago due to the deplorable state of the home and bring the repairs up to date. The only one left which was situated in Accra was also burnt down on 28th December 2018 leaving the whole country hopeless in addressing justice for children situation in Ghana. It is unacceptable to see children at the police cells and this is a total violation of the rights of children which has to be addressed with immediate effect. We are, therefore, calling on the Minister through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) as a matter of urgency to provide the needed resources to renovate these facilities. At least one for the Northern, Middle and Southern belt.
In as much as, we do not want children to come in conflict with the law, those who fall prey to the justice systems should not suffer at the fate of irresponsibility on behalf of the state. Children are our future leaders and therefore we should provide all the safety net for them to grow well with their immediate families, extended families or in their respective communities.
Furthermore, we are also calling on development partners and the private sector through their corporate social responsibilities to come to the aid of these institutions and support them to provide decent and befitting centres to these children who are in conflict or in contact with the law. Remember, the child cannot wait and therefore, our response should be swift.
We are also calling on the media to continue to be the mouthpiece of these institutions who are to providing these services and the resources are not forthcoming. Let’s, devote some of our time to the services of some of these social vices which if not addressed today will come back to haunt us in the near future.
It is our expectations that these issues shall be resolved as soon as possible to bring peace and justice to the affected individuals and their families.
Let’s all support in the protection of children, promotion of their rights and prevention of violence, abuse and exploitation while partnering among ourselves as key stakeholders to accelerate their empowerment for future development.
Barima Akwasi Amankwaah, Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC).
Anna N. Nabere, Plan International Ghana.
George Oppong, Defence for Children International, Ghana
Shiela Minka Premo, Women’s Forum of the GBA