The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has stated that children born out of wedlock have a right to maintenance by their fathers just like those born in marriage.
Mr John Ato Breboh, Senior Principal Investigator of CHRAJ, Tema Regional Office said fathers must take up the responsibility of caring for their children instead of leaving that burden on the mothers alone.
Mr Breboh stated during the 14th edition of the Stakeholders Engagement and Worker’s Appreciation Day Seminar of the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency.
The GNA Tema Stakeholder Engagement is a platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues and serves as a motivational mechanism to recognise the editorial contribution of reporters toward national development in general and the growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.
Speaking on the theme: “We Must Make Protection of Children a Priority,”
Mr Breboh said the Children’s Act imposes a duty on parents or any other person with legal liability to maintain a child or contribute towards the maintenance of a child to supply the necessaries of health, life, education, and reasonable shelter for the child.
He advised parents especially mothers and other legal guardians to activate the provision in the Children’s Act for maintenance orders saying “the Act also gives a parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child or any other person the power to apply to the Family Tribunal for a maintenance order.
“It is sad to see some women left with the care of their children alone because they a re not married, some of the children also get neglected by their fathers who are married and taking care of the children produced in the marriage, such cases can also be reported to CHRAJ for the necessary attention,” he added.
Mr Breboh also called for the strengthening of the extended family system in Ghana, saying that the current trend of having nuclear families was not helping in the care of children especially the orphans and the poor.
He said the Child and Family Welfare Policy in Ghana recognised that a child was an integral part of the family and as such a child’s welfare could not be separated from that of the family.
He noted that “It is concerned with all activities, services, and norms which support the child in the context of his/her wider family setting,” adding that “The child protection system of which child and family welfare is one part includes additional functions such as the overarching legal framework including children and justice, and the education and health systems.
Touching on some governmental policies that have the aim of providing for the needs of children, he said there was a need for the strengthening of such policies to ensure that they achieved their intended objectives.
He said policies including the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, School Feeding Programme, and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty needed evaluation and strengthening to better benefit children and ensure their protection.
Mrs Elorm Kupomey, CHRAJ Investigator at Tema Regional Office reiterated the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which was an agreement by countries who promised to protect children’s rights.
She said the Convention explained who children were, all their rights, and the responsibilities of governments.
Mrs Kupomey said section 28 of the Bill of Rights, entitled “Children” acknowledged that every child had the right to a name and a nationality from birth, family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment.
It also recognises that basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services, be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation, and be protected from exploitative labour practices.