The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Vincent Foli, Commander of Police in the Krachi Nchumuru District in the Oti Region, has cautioned parents and guardians within the district to desist from betrothing their young girls to men for marriage.
He has also warned of jail terms for persons who perpetuated violence against children in the District.
ASP Foli sounded the caution at a stakeholder’s dialogue on ending child marriage and violence against children in the Krachi Nchumuru District in the Oti Region.
The dialogue, organised by the World Vision Ghana, aimed at ending child marriage as well as violence against children within the district.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (2020), Ghana is home to over two million child brides, including currently married girls along with women who were first married in childhood.
Also, one in five young women were married or in a union before their 18th birthday.
ASP Foli said child marriage was negatively affecting young girls in the District and preventing them from having any meaningful life.
He said the Police Command would, therefore, not countenance such acts in the District saying, “any culprit arrested will be sent to court and jailed.”
He advised parents to discharge their duties by providing for their children with the basic needs to protect them from sexual predatory men.
Ms Barbara Yeboa Asare, End Child Marriage Campaign’s Coordinator, World Vision Ghana, said child marriage continued to be a global phenomenon impeding the development of a country and the full realisation of the rights of children, adding that it was a major threat to the survival and health well-being of children.
Evidence has confirmed that teenage pregnancy is a key driver of child marriage in addition to negative social and cultural practices, low enforcement of laws and policies on child marriage and sexual abuses, weak child protection systems, poverty and low empowerment of children, especially girls.
Ms Asare said: “Child marriage is not only a social issue with potential dramatically consequences for child brides but has economic cost associated with it.”
She said even though Ghana had made significant strides in halting child marriage over the last decade compared to other West and Central Africa, it must do more to end the canker by 2030.
In 2017, World Vision International Global Partnership launched a five year (2017-2021) campaign dubbed: “It Takes a World to End Violence against Children,” with an intent to promote human transformation, seek justice, uphold the rights of children to be protected and bear witness to the kingdom of God.
In line with that, Ms Asare said, World Vision Ghana launched the: “End Child Marriage Now! It Takes All,” campaign to contribute to the reduction of child marriage in Ghana by five per cent by 2030.
She said since its implementation, the campaign had made significant strides both at the national, district and community levels.
For instance, the Campaign Coordinator explained that three child protection laws namely Children’s Act, Criminal Offences Act and Domestic Violence Act, had been reviewed and laid before Parliament for consideration at the national level.
Additionally, the Birth and Deaths Registration Act, 1960 was amended in June 2020, while there had been 75 and 80 per cent budget increment to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“At the district and community levels, 24 district child protection committees have been formed and all trained in all AP operating districts to support in forming and providing oversight responsibility and support to 195 community child protection committees,” she touted.
Ms Asare said the Organisation would continue to leverage on the campaign gains towards the FY21-23 Strategy to influence policies from stakeholders to reach the most vulnerable girls and boys.
Nana Obrempong Kanya, Paramount Chief of Nchumuru Traditional Council, commended non-governmental organisations particularly World Vision Ghana, for their enormous contributions toward the development of the District.
He assured the traditional authority’s continued collaboration with World Vision Ghana to address the challenges of the District, especially in child protection.