N/R: Child Protection Committee to reduce child marriage and abuse against children

BY: Samuel Duodu
members of the Northern Regional Child Protection Committee
members of the Northern Regional Child Protection Committee

The Northern Regional Child Protection Committee has resolved to work together with all child protection agencies, religious and traditional authorities in the region to reduce child marriage and all forms of violence against children in the region.

They have also resolved to work with Songtaba, a local human rights and child centred non- governmental organisation (NGO) to make the various district child protection panels to work and ensure that there is full roll out of the child and family welfare policy.

The committee further advised the public to involve children in child protection issues affecting them.

The decision was taken at a meeting organised by Songtaba in partnership with Plan International Ghana under the Girls Advocacy Alliance Project in Tamale on Thursday.

The committee is made up of all state institutions who have been mandated to protect children, traditional and religious leaders and Civil Society Organisations (,CSOs) who were also present at the meeting.

The meeting was to explore ways to address key child protection issues in the region.

It came out at the meeting that the palaces of the various paramount chiefs have equally failed to incorporate child protection in their work as chiefs.

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The committee said there was the need to create spaces for discussion of child rights issues at the palaces.

They further urged the government through the district assemblies to incorporate child protection in the national/local medium tern development plans.

Speaking at the meeting, the Northern Regional Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service (DSP), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr. Emmanuel Holortu said lack of commitment from the state on child protection which makes institutions not properly resourced to work.

He added that victims also fail to report cases due to pressure from other relatives and the homogeneous nature of the people in the region.

A representative from the Northern Regional office of the Attorney General"s (A-G's) Department said there was a need for provisions in the law to compel victims of abuse to report the case for redress because such cases are committed against the state and cannot be settled at home, especially if it involves rape/defilement or child marriage.

The Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Razak Saani blamed the district assemblies for not showing much commitment on child protection.

He added that development should be all-encompassing.

The Executive Director of Songtaba, Madam Laminatu Adam on her part said her outfit in partnership with Plan International Ghana and all other stakeholders in child protection were working together to promote the rights of all vulnerable groups in the region.