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3,000 Children rescued from child labour

BY: Arku Jasmine

File photoThree thousand children engaged in works that constitute a threat to their health, education and development, have been rescued under an International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Government of Ghana Project to address the problem of child labour.

In addition, 6,000 others who have been prevented from engaging in child labour activities have been enrolled in schools and given skills training under the project which started in 2010.

The victims were rescued from the fishing, cocoa, mining and quarrying areas. These areas include the Bia District, Aowin Suaman, Juaboso, Wassa Amenfi, Prestea Hunni Valley and Tarkwa, all in the Western Region.

The others are Dangme East and Ga South in the Greater Accra Region; Afram Plains, Kraboa Coaltar and Birim South in the Eastern Region and the Pru District in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The Head of the Child Labour Unit at the Department of Labour of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, Ms Elizabeth Akanbombire, made this known on Thursday at the sixth annual human rights lectures organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in Accra.

She said following various interventions carried out by different organisations, the country decided to adopt a National Programme of Action (NPA) to deal with the problem of child labour.

One goal of the NPA (which spans between 2009 and 2015), she said, was to reduce the worse forms of child labour to the barest minimum by the 2015 deadline.

Ms Akanbombire said the focus of the NPA was mainly on prevention, and that the target area was countrywide.

CHRAJ Boss

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Lauretta V. Lamptey, said child labour was a global phenomenon which violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of children engaged in work that deprived them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms.

More than half of those children are engaged in the worse forms of child labour. These include working in hazardous environment, slavery and prostitution.

“The high prevalence of child labour in Ghana is an issue of concern to all. The CHRAJ in its pursuit of promoting and protecting children’s rights has, since 2009, handled complaints of child labour issues,” she said.

Collective action

In a presentation, the Executive Director of Future Resource Development Limited, Mrs Sylvia Hinson-Ekong, said the country could address the child labour issue, since it was a man-made problem.

“To accelerate the elimination of child labour, the central government, including Parliament, and all politicians need to make it a national priority.  This will require high powered advocacy work and lobbying of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.

For the elimination of child labour to be a reality, it requires the commitment of every citizen of Ghana to report cases of child labour,” she said.

Mrs Hinson-Ekong said the government must also provide funding through the national budget for the implementation of the NPA.

By Emmanuel Bonney & Lydia Ezit/Daily Graphic/Ghana