Tamale, May 18, GNA – Children of Northern Ghana have urged ministers, government officials, traditional and religious leaders, civil society and parents who have signed a pledge to become champions of child rights to abide by it.
Master Seidu Lamayina Yine-Nagbo, a pupil of Saint John’s Junior High School, Bolgatanga, on behalf of his colleagues made the appeal to the stakeholders at the Future of Childhood in Ghana Conference in Tamale.
“I am happy to note that, by lighting the flame and signing the pledge today, ministers, traditional and religious leaders, civil society and parents seated here have further raised our hopes by the promise to become champions of child rights, please don’t let us down.
“What that means for me as a child is that, I can ask questions and not be afraid, I can go to school and be assured that my school is safe.”
The Conference on the theme: “Celebrating the Future of Childhood in Ghana”, was organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, formed part of activities marking the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The event was attended by more than hundred children drawn from the five regions of the north-Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savanna and Northeast regions.
Ministers, government officials, traditional and religious leaders, partners and influencers at the conference pledged to be champions of child rights and do their best to give every child in Ghana a fair chance in life.
Master Yine-Nagbo said by the commitment made by the stakeholders here present, had given him the hope that every child in Ghana, irrespective of his or her ability, could go to school and learn.
“When girls go to school, they will stay and finish school because they are not afraid to be married off quickly. Girls can be confident that when they go to school and are in their menses, there will be water and a toilet where they can change,” he said.
“But for us children in Northern Ghana, this means more to us because often, we have less opportunity than our other brothers and sisters in other parts of the country.”
Master Yine-Nagbo expressed his gratitude to government for the efforts made for the past 30 years to uphold and defend child’s rights; stating that: “the results of the bold step you took is that, many more children are surviving and can celebrate their 5th birthday because they can access health care”.
He said their mothers were being delivered by skilled health workers, reducing the number who would have died in the hands of untrained personnel.
He called on government, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, and parents to do more to promote and protect child’s rights now and for the future.
He said in spite, of the effort made, not all children have the same rights; some don’t even have a right to a name because they do not have a birth certificate.
He said by these signatures, the stakeholders have affirmed their public commitment to champion child rights.
“If we could ask for one thing, it will be this, help us to get equal rights.”
Personalities who attended the conference included Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana; Madam Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Mr Salifu Saeed, Northern Regional Minister.
The rest were Madam Paulina Abayage, Upper East Regional; Mr Salifu Adam Braimah, Savannah Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Ishaq, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister and Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, Chair, Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection.