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Understanding Issues of Elder Abuse

Understanding Issues of Elder Abuse published on

WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?

Elder abuse refers to any form of mistreatment or abuse of an older person. It is a violation of the fundamental human rights of older persons – including both older men and women, either at home or at institutional settings.

It also means any action or inaction that causes harm or distress to an elderly person .

According to World Health Organization (WHO), elder abuse is defined as,  “A single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”

In Ghana, most elder abuse cases occur in the home setting, often perpetrated by family members since institutions for elder care are basically non-existent. The lack of institutional care facilities thus puts a lot of pressure on families, especially women who normally bear the burden of caring for elderly parents or relatives in society.

There are different forms of elder abuse including physical, financial, psychological, neglect/abandonment and sexual abuses.

Physical Abuse of Older Persons

This refers to physical attacks on the body or causing physical harm to an elder person’s body. It involves violent acts such as hitting, pushing, kicking or beating of an elderly person. Elder abuse can lead to physical injuries such as minor scratches and bruises to broken bones and incapacitating injuries or even death.

Financial Abuse of Older Persons

Financial abuse of older persons include stealing money from an older person, buying things and asking an older person to pay for it against his or her will, changing a will, forgery, misuse of power of attorney and denying access to funds. Often, older persons are so frail that they are not able to take charge of their finances as before. That is when people start exploiting them financially.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse of Older Persons

Psychological abuse refers to acts that cause emotional distress or harm to an older person.  It can take the form of isolation, insults and name calling. For example, in Ghana elderly women are easily branded as witches by members of the community or even family members.

Even though psychological abuse of older persons is very common, it is hardly reported due to fear or lack of capacity to do so.

Neglect & Abandonment of older persons

Older persons are sometimes weak, vulnerable and unable to care for themselves. They are therefore dependent on others for care and support. However, many elderly persons are neglected by those who are supposed to take care of them. Others have no one to take care of them at all. Thus, many elderly people end up living in insanitary conditions, and unable to take their medication or meals on time.

Sexual Abuse of Older Persons

It is an abuse to perform unwanted sexual acts on an elder person or perform unwanted sexual acts in the presence of an elder person.

PREVALENCE & REPORTING

Elder abuse cases are rather prevalent in most societies of the world, yet a chunk of the cases go unreported. This is because, the victims are usually afraid of what might happen to them, or due to poor physical or mental health.

The State of many elderly persons in Ghana is currently not the best. It’s time we pay attention to the welfare of old people in this country. It is not right that there are no public institutions or care facilities for the elderly in Ghana.

Government should priorities the care needs of the elderly since they are vulnerable individuals in need of assistance from society. As a country, we have to address the plight of the older population as a matter of urgency. Its our moral duty to do so since we will all get to the same situation some day if we do not die early.

Written By

Rose Mary Kayi

Accra Should Learn from Kampala: Ban Giving Money to Child Beggars.

Accra Should Learn from Kampala: Ban Giving Money to Child Beggars. published on

It’s Time We Learn Lessons from Kampala And Ban Giving of Alms To Child Beggars On The Streets of Accra. 

It’s very heart-warming to hear reports that the local authorities in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda last May 2019 passed a bye law banning giving of alms to children begging on the streets, as too many African children are being exploited economically through the begging business.

So my question is what is Accra waiting for? When will authorities in Accra – Ghana confront the menace of the proliferating economic exploitation of children on major streets of Accra?

According to Kampala’s new law, anyone caught giving money or food to a child beggar will face up to six months prison term or a fine of eleven dollars $11.

It’s our hope that the punishment will be deterrent enough to stop the practice of forcing young children, especially girls on to the streets to beg for adults under the scorching sun.

The authorities believe the law will curtail the commercial exploitation of children in the capital because too many children are forced to live on the streets of Kampala instead of living at home and going to school.

In Accra, this same problem is becoming wide spread. Child beggars have taken over most of the major streets and traffic lights in the capital.

As at now no one seems to be addressing the issue even though the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children’s Act 1998 Act 560 prohibit economic exploitation of children.

That is why we are calling on the government of Ghana, and local authorities of Accra to follow the example of Kampala in banning the practice.

We believe that once people stop giving out money to these children, the commercialization of children on the street will no longer be a viable business venture for unscrupulous individuals and parents.

 In effect, the practice of trafficking children into the lucrative business of begging will hopefully stop or reduce drastically.

Written By

Rose Mary Kayi

Continuous Exploitation of Children In Ghana

Continuous Exploitation of Children In Ghana published on

Stop Adults From Using Children As Beggars

Ghana was the first state to ratify the UN convention on the rights of the child. However, the country still lags far behind in terms of stopping exploitation of children, as many children continue to suffer abuse and maltreatment, particularly the menace of economic exploitation in the form of begging on major streets of Accra.

On February 5th 1990, Ghana became the very first country to ratify the Convention on the rights of the Child at the United Nations General Assembly and the convention officially came into force on 2 September 1990.

This signaled a new dawn for the protection of the rights and welfare of children in Ghana; or at least we thought so.

A child begging for Money in traffic Near Opebea Junction in Accra
Children begging in traffic at Madina Zongo Junction in Accra

In 1998, the parliament of Ghana also passed the Children’s Act 1998, Act 560 in line with the country’s international commitment to uphold the rights of the child.

Essentially the goal was to, “reform and consolidate the law relating to children, to provide for the rights of the child, maintenance and adoption and regulate child labour…” in the country.

While these gestures are laudable and duly appreciated by the people of Ghana, the practical application of some of the key provisions of the convention and Act 560 has been rather ineffective and seems to lack the necessary commitment on the part of duty bearers.

One such area is the provision against economic exploitation of children by adults as stated below in article 32 of the 1990 UN child rights convention:

States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” (Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child)

This means any state that ratifies this convention including Ghana, agrees to protect its children from economic exploitation in every part of the country.

Yet, many young girls and boys continue to work or beg on the streets of Accra for adults instead of being in school, learning and playing with other children.

What is more troubling about the plight of these children is that they often work in the middle of moving traffic which is very dangerous and a harmful to their health and survival.

Whenever you drive around areas such as Madina Zongo Junction, 37 round about, Opebea Junction and Korle Bu area, you could see the so called ‘parents’ resting under a shade from the scorching sun, while the little children beg for money on the road in the hot sun.

It is extremely worrying that no one seems to care, or even if they do, nothing is being done about the appalling situation.

Public officials use these roads everyday but continue to ignore the situation as if everything is normal and proper.

But this is not normal. And, it’s not proper. It is not right to leave children in the hands of those who abuse and exploit them for their personal gains.

Economic exploitation of children is a crime according to article 32 of the child rights convention which Ghana ratified since February 1990.

So, we need our authorities to act now to stop the practice and punish perpetrators who send children out in the hot sun to make money for them.

Remember, children are entitled to special care and assistance

To All Women

To All Women published on

Value Your Rights

Do not take your human rights and the need to know them lightly. In addition, don’t take the fight for gender equality as if it doesn’t concern you.

A very important fact we should understand clearly is that most of the rights and freedoms that we women in most parts of the world enjoy and take for granted today – such as voting, owning our own property or signing contracts by yourselves, for yourselves, going to school and many others were fought for by fellow women who refused to sit unconcerned about the plight of women in society at the time.  

But the fight for bringing into reality the human rights of all women is very far from over, as too many women and girls continue to suffer poverty, discrimination and violence is society.

Despite the adoption of CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms Discrimination Against Women) and other human rights instruments on women, the reality is that many women are still being trafficked into prostitution, enslaved in the name of culture, raped in the name of culture, declared witches and either killed or isolated, suffer sexual harassment at work, labeled prostitute if they dare to stand for political office and so on.

We should not be unconcerned about these challenges. Let’s try to do something to bring a change no matter how small.

Women’s Right Education @ Oyibi
Women Learning About Their Human Rights

We have a responsibility to do our part. No matter where we find ourselves, we have a responsibility to stand up for the rights of vulnerable and marginalized women and girls.

We have a responsibility to speak out against injustice, discrimination and abuse against other women and girls in our households, communities and the larger society.

We have a responsibility to fight and stop all forms of violence against women and girls at home, at work and in the community.

We have a responsibility to refrain from joining those who abuse or maltreat other women in the name of culture or religion.

To do the above, we all have a duty to educate and inform ourselves about women’s rights issues so that we are empowered and in a better position to defend ourselves and protect other women.

AREAS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN THE PAST

  • Women were not allowed to vote Married
  • Women were maltreated or even killed when their husbands died
  • women were legally nonexistent in the eyes of the law
  • Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
  • Married women had no property rights
  • Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
  • Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
  • Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
  • Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
  • Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
  • Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
  • With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
  • Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men

The Day Of The Girl Child

The Day Of The Girl Child published on

The Girl Child : Intelligent, Capable and Valuable.

 
2017-03-30 069As we celebrate the international day of the girl child today, 11 October, 2017, Stand Ghana wishes to congratulate every girl child in Ghana and the world over for their hard work, courage and resilience in the face of prevailing cultural, social, economic and religious impediments they are exposed to on daily basis.
 
To every Girl Child, we say: Ayeekoo!!! Be happy! Be Empowered! Be Resilient! Be Bold, Be Knowledgeable, Be Excellent! And Be Hopeful – Always!
 
Our girls are so intelligent and hard working in spite of the numerous challenges they face! They are helping at home and they are topping their classes in most schools and national examinations in Ghana!
 
However, we must remember that the girl child is still vulnerable to attacks and negative vices whether at home, school or within the community. They are usually susceptible to violence, sexual abuse, incest, neglect and diverse kinds of discrimination.
 
2017-03-30 076GIVE ADVICE
Let us use this opportunity to give the Girl Child good advice and share our experiences with them to inspire them to become useful adults and capable leaders in society tomorrow.
Let’s educate them on the challenges that are likely to confront them as they grow up and how they can overcome them successfully.
 
THEIR NEEDS
Remember the basic needs (especially pads, panties and underwear) of the girl child in your house – and, please extend a helping hand to girl from poor homes in your community. Teachers complain that most girls whose parents or guardians are unable to provide them with these basic needs are often moody in school and perform poorly in class.
 
DON’T OVER BURDEN
Our research indicate that many girls from poor homes get overburdened with house work so much that they are often too tired to do homework and by the time they reach school they are unable to pay attention to lessons in class thereby impeding their general performance in school.
 
SAVE THEM FROM ABUSE
Please take tangible steps to protect the girl child in your house or school from sexual abuse, incest and violence; eliminate all forms of discrimination that impede her potentials and empower her with appropriate information and life skills.
 
www.standghana.org

Deportees Shackled From US To Ghana?

Deportees Shackled From US To Ghana? published on

top463 DEPORTED BACK IN SHACKLES & HANDCUFFS

The sixty three (63) Ghanaians deported from the US to Ghana were inhumanely transported back home on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

The deportees reported that they were kept in shackles/chains and hand cuffs on the plane to Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

Whether their deportation was right or not, reports that they were chained and hand cuffed like animals, and even denied water and food throughout the entire journey from the US to Ghana is rather very alarming because it sounds cruel and degrading; and against International Human Rights Law.

We need to know what really happened. Are these mere allegations or not? What really happened on the plane? Were the deportees actually shackled? If yes, were they being violent and therefore posing threats to other passengers on the plane for which they had to be restrained? These are questions that need urgent answers.

Whatever the answers, no human being deserved to be treated inhumanely whether they’ve done something wrong or not. We condemn illegal migrations but we must not condone torture or degrading treatment of our fellow citizens.

Authorities must always keep in mind that Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which PROHIBITS Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of persons, applies to everyone without any distinctions. This particular human right is absolute. It has no conditions attached! Which means its violation can never be right.

Many Ghanaians are rightly expressing outrage and deep concern about the situation. And, are unhappy about the broader picture of how African’s are consistently ill-treated outside the continent as if they are lesser humans.

Why does this keep happening? Is it the failure of our leaders to defend and protect our rights or is it our inability to hold ourselves in high esteem and defend our human rights? Let’s talk about these issues.

 

 

Ghana’s Aged – Voiceless, Vulnerable and Neglected

Ghana’s Aged – Voiceless, Vulnerable and Neglected published on

Protect Right To Dignity In Old Age

 

The state of the elderly in Ghana today is one of voicelessness, neglect and vulnerability as the traditional support system that used to cater for them is almost non-existent – with no reliable alternatives.

I think it’s about time we develop a public care system with a pool of support workers and volunteers  to take care of the aged in Ghana.

It is simply not fair to a group of people who have contributed immensely to the development of the nation in their youth to be abandoned to their fate and to a life of indignity in old age.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to economic & social security in the event of old age (UDHR Art 25) – but that unfortunately is not the case for many aged Ghanaian men and women.

Today many of our aged population are abandoned in their vulnerable state, basically living on their own, with no family or public support.

In the absence of much needed public support system, the traditional support system used to give needed assistance in terms of care, financial support and many others to vulnerable aged persons but that is almost non-existent in  recent times, as the  traditional extended family support system is no longer available to many.

With the break own of the extended family system, the traditional support system is also disappearing fast. This means there is no more help for our vulnerable old men and women.

It is not right that old people are neglected in this country to a life of indignity. Government, as well as the private sector need to provide care homes for the aged in Ghana, and we need to start training professional carers to take care of the elderly in the Ghanaian society – this issue is now a matter of necessity!!

 

WRITEN BY:  ROSE ENYA KAYI

 

WORLD WATER DAY 2017

WORLD WATER DAY 2017 published on

Make Safe Water Available To All In Ghana!

2030-01-01 003Today is World Water Day!  The day (22nd March) was instituted in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, to focus on taking action to tackle the world’s water crisis.

As part of world water day celebration, Stand Ghana is focusing attention on the plight of millions of Ghanaians who still lack access to clean, safe and affordable water – particularly women and girls whose traditional duty it is in Ghana to go out looking for water for the family every single day.

The reality is that too many people still do not have access to safe water in Ghana even though it is a human right. Others have to walk very long distances to get access, and a great many others are getting access at an alarmingly high financial cost.

In July 2010, The United Nations General Assembly, by Resolution A/RES/64/292, recognized water and sanitation as a fundamental human right. By this, water is supposed to be accessible and affordable, and must not cost more than 3% of household income.

This means that having access to safe, clean and affordable water for drinking and domestic activities is everyone’s basic human right and must be treated as such.

According to UN Water, “1.8 billion people currently use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.”

Here in Ghana, available statistics on water indicate 40% of Ghanaians lack access to safe drinking water, whilst 50% of rural dwellers currently rely on unsafe water for drinking and other household activities. Given the fact that water is life, this statistics is worrying and unacceptable.

According to The UN Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, everyone in the world must have access to safe water by the year 2030. The big question is, is this SDG target really achievable?  Well, only if the right steps are taken fast.

Government – both local and national and other stake holders urgently need to step up on provision of better water infrastructure for adequate supply and distribution of safe, clean water at affordable prices to every community and home in Ghana so that this particular human right can be made real in the lives of every Ghanaian.

Inspiring Human Rights people

Inspiring Human Rights people published on

Eleanor QuoteOur inspiration today to promote and defend human rights comes from Eleanor Roosevelt, a former first lady of the United States of America. She worked hard for the promotion of the culture of human rights; and supervised the creation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights established since 10 December, 1948. Be inspired by one of her best quotes – and dare to take action for human rights in your small world:

“Where, after all, do universal rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”  –  Eleanor Roosevelt

By: Rose-Mary K

Water Is Now A Human Right

Water Is Now A Human Right published on

Human Rights to Water: Content, Facts and Implications

 

Access to safe clean water for drinking and household use is now recognized and established  as a Basic Human Right, thanks to the United Nation’s Resolution A/RES/64/292 on human right to water and sanitation.

Following the establishment of water as a basic human right by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 July 2010, states, including Ghana, are charged to make this human right real in the day to day lives of their people.

Member states are supposed to promote access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services and work towards the progressive realization of the human right to water and sanitation in their respective countries

The resolution notes, and rightly so, that the human right to water is crucial to life and for the full enjoyment of all other human rights.

This is a very welcoming development because all people need water, everyone drinks water daily, and everyone, in particular women and girls living in poorer communities would benefit immensely from the realization of the human right to clean, safe water.

Stand Ghana highly hails and endorses the creation of  this new human right by the UN General Assembly – it is long over due!

We agree with the developers of this all important human right in the sense that  water is  indisputably very essential for the sustenance of human life; and that if effectively implemented in Ghana, it would help immensely in improving health and quality of life in every Ghanaian community.

Water Facilities Are Socio-economic Necessities
Water Facilities Are Socio-economic Necessities

We therefore call on the government to provide more water facilities and to ensure the availability of adequate, clean and safe water for the people of Ghana as stipulated by the content of this resolution.

We also call on the media and other stakeholders to aggressively promote this human right and impress upon government to swiftly honour its obligations to the people.

The contents of the resolution include the following key principles:

SUFFICIENCY
The principle of sufficiency implies that the water supply for each person must be sufficient and continuously available for personal and domestic uses. These uses ordinarily include drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, personal and household hygiene. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health concerns arise.

SAFETY
Safe. The water required for each personal or domestic use must be safe, therefore free from micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards that constitute a threat to a person’s health. Measures of drinking-water safety are usually defined by national and/or local standards for drinking-water quality. The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for drinking-water quality provide a basis for the development of national standards that, if properly implemented, will ensure the safety of drinking-water.

ACCEPTABILITY
Acceptable. Water should be of an acceptable colour, odour and taste for each personal or domestic use. All water facilities and services must be culturally appropriate and sensitive to gender, lifecycle and privacy requirements.

PHYSICAL ACCESSIBILITY

Water For Everyone, Everywhere
Water For Everyone, Everywhere

Physically accessible. Everyone has the right to a water and sanitation service that is physically accessible within, or in the immediate vicinity of the household, educational institution, workplace or health institution. According to WHO, the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes.

AFFORDABILITY
Affordability means that, water, and water facilities and services, must be affordable for all. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests that water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income.

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