DCI rallies support for girl-child rights issues

Obuasi (Ash), Residents of the Obuasi Municipality have been advised to be responsive to issues relating to development of the girl-child.

They should be actively involved in efforts at ending child marriage, forced labour, gender inequality and female genital mutilation, as well as beliefs and practices that tend to stifle their growth and general development.

Ms Stella Owusu-Boatemaa, Vice-President of Defence for Children International (DCI)-Ghana, a Civil Society Organization (CSO), said improving the socio-economic life of the girl-child is a shared responsibility.

She was addressing a ceremony to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl-Child at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region, held under the theme: A Skilled Girl Force to Ensure Decent Job Employment.

The Ghana Education Service (GES), Social Support Foundation (SSF), ProLink and KWADA, all CSOs, were on hand to provide technical support.

An estimated one in three women globally, experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ms Owusu-Boatemaa said girls who marry before age 18 were likely to be denied higher education, adding that this also comes with related complications such as premature childbearing and domestic violence, all inimical to her physical well-being and socio-economic development.

Whether it is domestic abuse, rape or sexual trafficking, gender-based violence denies many women the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives, the Child Rights advocate said.

Ms Owusu-Boatemaa said the celebration, a global event declared by the United Nations, largely focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

She said adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into womanhood.

Ms Hannah Amponsah, the Municipal Girl-Child Coordinator for the GES, said girls are a source of energy, power and creativity for any society.

They can drive change and help build a better future for all if given the needed opportunity.

Mr Bright Ofosuhene, a Child Rights Activist and Field Coordinator of DCI, said this year’s celebration of the International Day of the Girl-Child focuses on the need for the global community to work to empower girls before, during and after conflicts.

This is particularly important since every ten minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence, she said.

Ms Jennifer Addo of the Girls’ Advocacy Alliance, a civil society organization, pleaded with the government to ensure that the Domestic Violence Act 732 was enforced to the letter to reduce to the barest minimum, sexual violence in all its forms in the Ghanaian society.

Source: Ghana News Agency