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Child Rights focuses on street children after Akuapem Poloo’s incarceration

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
Mr Bright Appiah — Executive Director of CRI
Mr Bright Appiah — Executive Director of CRI

Following its efforts in getting actress Rosemond Alade Brown, aka Akuapem Poloo, incarcerated for child abuse, Child Rights International says it will now turn its attention on the parents of street children who allow their children to roam and beg for alms on the street.

According to the non-governmental organisation, the court ruling had encouraged it to pursue more child abuse cases in order to uphold and protect their rights.

Satisfaction

The Executive Director of CRI, Mr Bright Appiah, who said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, said the court ruling was not a matter of being satisfied but the fact that the court system was able to see to the completion of the case.

“Once you find a child on the street, it is an abuse and there are processes stated by law in taking action in respect of that. The first one is people who use children to beg for alms and, for that matter, they must be prosecuted for engaging children on the street.

“Then again, there are others who are also very vulnerable and, for that matter, find themselves on the street. The law also provides a certain antidote that the state must provide and so that is one aspect that we are going to pursue,” he said.

Read also: Akuapem Poloo appeals 90-day jail sentence, files for bail

Research

Mr Appiah said three years ago the organisation conducted research and then reported that it was going to take action and that its lawyers were studying the research report and at the appropriate time would come out with a demand on the state to make sure that all children were protected.

“So we will play our part and we will continue to do that. In 2019, we took action and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection came out and said that it was developing a roadmap for withdrawing children from the streets and we kept quiet but now we are going full length.

For him, he said, the system had really responded properly to the Akuapem Poloo issue which was expected to serve as a deterrent to others, adding that what he was not enthused about was the fact that there was no pronouncement on the state of the child.

Mr Appiah congratulated the police on taking the matter up and refering it to the court, and believed that the message had been sent out there that people must begin to respect the privacy and dignity of children and accord them the needed support.

He said the organisation would not renege on its efforts to push for child abuse issues to be put before court.

Read also: Why Akuapem Poloo was given a custodial sentence

Adverts

“There are people who are using children for commercial adverts without going for the protection of the child and we have a number of cases we are reviewing as an organisation and when we think that the issue must go to court, we would do that. We would report the issue to the police and the police would take it up. We would still continue to work as an NGO protecting the rights of children as long as people would continue to abuse the rights of children

A Circuit Court, presided over by Ms Christiana Cann, last Friday slapped Akuapem Poloo with a 90-day imprisonment for the publication of a nude picture with her seven-year-old son in June, 2020.

The actress was convicted on her own plea, after she had pleaded guilty to three counts of publication of obscene materials, engaging in domestic violence namely a conduct that, in any way, undermined another person’s privacy or integrity, and engaging in domestic violence namely a conduct that, in any way, detracted or was likely to detract from another person’s dignity and worth as a human being.

The complainant in the case was Bright Appiah, who is the Director of Child Rights International Ghana.

He petitioned the police after the photo went viral on social media, and the case was referred to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU).

Read also: Child Rights supports Rastafarian student to sue Achimota School

Appeal

Meanwhile, Ms Brown, aka Akuapem Poloo, is challenging the 90-day jail term handed her by the Accra Circuit Court for publishing her nude picture which contained her son.

In a notice of appeal filed yesterday at the Accra High Court by her lawyer, Mr Andrew Vortia, Brown argued that the custodial sentence imposed on her by the circuit court was harsh.

Akuapem Poloo also urged the High Court to grant her bail until the final determination of the appeal.