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Human Rights Education on Children’s Day

Human Rights Education on Children’s Day published on

This year, several students benefited from Stand Ghana’s free human rights education programme on Children’s Day.

Every year, we celebrate November 20th as Children’s Day globally. The aim is to promote the welfare of children, and to highlight their rights and interests in society.

To mark this year’s occasion, Stand Ghana organized a series of human rights education and awareness creation programmes in a number of schools in the Hohoe Municipality of the Volta Region – including Gbi Atabu RC Basic School and Kpoeta Basic School.

Our goal for organizing public education in schools is to improve awareness on child rights and issues of abuse among children and teachers in order to stop or curtail acts of child rights violations and abuse in the Ghanaian society; especially in the rural areas of the country.

Delivering her presentation to students of Gbi  Atabu RC JHS, Madam Rose Mary Kayi expounded on the importance of human rights to children; the need to know ones rights and some specific rights and responsibilities of a child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Children’s Act 1998, Act 560 and Article 28 of the constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

She encouraged the young girls in particular to be careful and to protect themselves against sexual abuse and molestation. She further encouraged them to have ambition for their lives and start dreaming of what they want to become in future.

 Sadly, while the Children’s Day Celebration is supposed to be for all children, the students informed us that they didn’t know anything about the Children’s Day celebration, if not for our outreach programme. 

This shows that activities were solely focused on children in the capital City Accra, without due regard for those in rural communities; which is discriminatory and unacceptable.

The Stand Ghana team is very grateful to the Head Master of Gbi Atabu RC Basic Sch. (Mr Attey) and the Assistant Head, Madam Lucy for allowing us into their school to organize this all important Human Rights Education programme for the students and teachers.

We also thank the Head Mistress (Madam Theresa) of Gbi Kpoeta Basic School a lot for letting us into her school to speak to the children on Children’s Day.

To all young people: Be Informed! Get to know your human rights fast!!

Child Rights Awareness Education At Great Winners Sch. Complex In Hohoe

Child Rights Awareness Education At Great Winners Sch. Complex In Hohoe published on

The entire JHS 1-3 students of Great Winners School Complex have been equipped with detailed human rights knowledge and skills at a human rights awareness programme organized by Stand Ghana on Friday, 4th October 2019 at Hohoe in the Volta Region of Ghana.

The over one hour talk centered on the content of Child Rights according to the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as issues of Child Abuse.

The presentation was delivered by the Executive Director of Stand Ghana, Madam Rose Mary Kayi who gave students detailed explanations on the specific rights and freedoms they are entitled to as children; how to defend and fight for their rights; and the need to expose perpetrators of abuse.  

She emphasised the fact that as young people they have the duty to empathize with victims of abuse in their communities.

Madam Rose Mary advised the female students in particular to make smart choices and protect themselves from deception and sexual advances from men as this will only destroy their education and future.

Both students and teachers who participated in the programme expressed deep appreciation to the Stand Ghana team for giving them the opportunity to learn about their basic human rights and freedoms as well as responsibilities in society.

We believe that every child, no matter where they come from have the right to know and have accurate understanding of their fundamental human rights in order to be better protected from abuse.

Young People Learning About Their Human Rights

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

Human Rights Education for Students of B.O.D Basic

Human Rights Education for Students of B.O.D Basic published on

Educating Young People On Child Rights,

Responsibilities and Child Abuse

Stand Ghana recently organized another successful Human Rights Education programme for several young people from the B.O.D Basic School at Burma Camp in Accra.

The event took place at the premises of the Base Ordinance Depot Basic School behind El-Wak Stadium in Accra on Monday, December 17th, 2018.

Major topics covered were: Child Rights according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Responsibilities of Children and  Understanding Child Abuse.

The main objective of organizing this programme was to improve awareness on human rights provisions and to help young people know the full content of their basic human rights and responsibilities. This, we believe, would help them enjoy their rights more effectively and responsibly.

Those who took part in the programme included all form three students of B.O.D Basic School, and some teachers; and we were impressed by the active involvement of both the students and their teachers. Many relevant questions were asked by the students and we also receive valuable contributions from both teachers and students.

The head mistress, madam Pearl Ameworwor was also present at the event and sat in throughout the entire duration of the two hour programme – which we very much appreciated. Madam Pearl Ameworwor implored the students to apply what they have learnt in their daily lives.

She also reminded them not to concentrate only on how to enjoy their rights, but to remember to perform their responsibilities as well.

We believe that human rights education is very necessary for everyone especially young people who are the future leaders.

Human Rights Day 2018

Human Rights Day 2018 published on

This Year’s Message Is: Stand Up for Human Rights!

Stand Ghana Marked this years human Rights Day Celebration with  community engagement outreach activities. We interacted with people of all walks of life, in their homes, on the streets, in their offices and shops. We talked about human rights issues and explain things to those who didn’t know anything about the subject.

Interestingly, someone asked us if  human rights was a church? So we had to explain the meaning of human rights in the local dialect which was a bit difficult; but we managed to do it. This reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do in the area of human rights education and awareness creation.

This year the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 years on 10th December 2018 – (from 1948 to 2018); and its worth celebrating by everyone, everywhere.

I know there are many unanswered questions on many people’s minds about the effectiveness of human rights implementation in most countries, including Ghana. However, that does not take away the huge  benefits human rights has brought us and continue to bring us globally.

Therefore, human rights are still relevant today as they were  in 1948 when the declaration was first adopted at the United Nations General Assembly by member countries.

I cannot imagine my world without the protection of human rights and freedoms. Let’s stand up for human rights always.

Happy Human Rights Day to every single individual person!

 

Written By: Rose Enya

 

No Tax – No Secondary Education Would Be A Human Right Violation

No Tax – No Secondary Education Would Be A Human Right Violation published on

And What’s The Purpose of Free SHS?

We’ve heard from the Minister of Finance that the Government is planning to stop children whose parents do not pay tax from accessing secondary school education. This is a very worrying and disappointing development because many children whose parents are very poor would be negatively affected should the policy be implemented.

We were indeed very happy when the Free SHS policy was introduced here in Ghana because we felt it was a great opportunity for children from poor homes, especially girls to have secondary education.

But now if government wants to limit it to only children whose parents are tax payers, according to what the Finance Minister said in his presentation of the 2019 budget; then we are back to square one.

We believe this kind of policy will be discriminatory and a VIOLATION of the right of  the Ghanaian child to access quality education without impediments from anyone.

“Everyone has the right to education” that is what the first line of article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states. Nowhere in article 26 is it stated that only tax payers’ children can have secondary school education.

If education is a right and not a privilege, then we cannot and should not base access to secondary school education on a child’s parent having Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Introducing the TIN policy in our educational sector will only undermine the whole idea behind the introduction of Free secondary education – which is “not to leave any child behind or at home”.

This is a bad idea and should NEVER be implemented in Ghana.

WRITTEN BY: ROSE MARY KAYI

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