Recent News (913)
On the occasion of a suspected two-year old child abuse case by the caretakers in Kumasi, capital city of Ashanti Region in Ghana, which was published by Joy News (myjoyonline) on the 29 th September, 2015, the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) would want to condemn any kind of abuse of children. Likewise, the Centre calls on the public to make it their civic responsibility to report any form of child abuse they might have witnessed.
The Centre is hereby reminding Ghanaians of Section 2 of the Children’s Act 1998 (ACT 560), which categorically enlist the Welfare Principle by stating that (1) the best interest of the child shall be paramount in any matter concerning a child. (2) The best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration by any court, person, institution or other body in any matter concerned with a child, with Section 6(3)(a) entrusting the rights and responsibilities in parents to “protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and moral hazards and oppression.”
Moreover, Section 69 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29 ), states that whoever intentionally and unlawfully causes harm to any person shall be guilty of second degree felony. According to the testimony of the neighbours, the version of the caretakers who had alleged that “the child accidentally dipped his hands in hot water”, was false. What is certain is that some of Samuel Kwarteng’s right fingers are motionless, according to the doctor working on him.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. On 11th August 2015, some teenage girls at Bomase, a village in the Upper Manya Krobo district of the Eastern Region have been forced to drop out of school after they were branded witches by a self-styled pastor.
We should also not forget other cases: the police officer, Lance Corporal Emmanuel Kwamena Bartels, who defiled and impregnated a twelve-year old girl; the father who defiled and impregnated his girl child and walked freely; the three teachers who sexually abused ten girls at Ho Airfield School; and the fetish priest who detained two children suspected to be witches. All these are criminal offenses and perpetrators must face the full rigors of the laws for violation of children’s rights.
We call on the police to conduct an exhaustive investigation and we also encourage media houses to keep on reporting cases of child abuse and continually educate the citizenry on the need to promptly report such abusive acts.
In fact, Section 17 of the Children’s Act of 1998 states clearly that, “Any person with information on child abuse or a child in need of care and protection shall report the matter to the Department. (ie. the Social Welfare and Community Development Department of a District Assembly.) Under the act, anyone who fails to report cases of child abuse to the appropriate authorities is as guilty as the perpetrator of the abuse. For this reason, the Centre is also urging Ghanaians to report all cases of child abuse to concerned institutions and agencies.
The Centre wishes to call, again, on all persons to respect the rights and vulnerability of children and treat them accordingly.
Mr. George Owoo
( -signed- )
Acting Executive Director, HRAC.