The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Monday implored queens to lead the nationwide campaign against early and forced marriages which are impeding the growth and development of girls.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Deputy Sector Minister who made the call stressed that children had their rights being protected by the Act 560 and therefore appealed to the queens to help the Ministry to stem outmoded traditional practices that abuse the rights of the girl-child.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North was addressing about 70 queens at a meeting held at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region to mark the International Day of the Girl Child on the theme “My Voice, Our Equal Future”.
The Department of Children with support from the UNFPA organised the meeting to sensitise the queens on the Children’s Acts, sexual and gender-based violence, and some practices which impede the development of girls.
On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The Day focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years but also as they mature into womanhood.
Mrs Prempeh emphasised if effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.
But, she regretted instead of supporting girls to achieve their potentials in life, surging cases of forced and early marriages, teenage pregnancies, defilement, as well as other outmoded and harmful cultural practices hindered their progress in life.
As the embodiment of the people, Mrs Prempeh told the queens they had enormous responsibility to guide girls to unearth and harness their talents to become assets and not liabilities in the society.
Mrs Joycelyn Adii, the Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender said widowhood rites, female genital mutilation, and sexual exploitation were the worst forms of abuse against girls.
She said though the Department with support from the UNFPA was doing much to bring the situation under control, it required concerted and decisive efforts from queens to achieve desirable results.
Mr. Faisal Bawah, Programme’s Director, Gender Unit at the UNFPA said women and widows required national support to safeguard their welfare saying they must be provided with quality healthcare, shelter, food, and other necessities to make life better for them.
Mr. Bright Asare, an officer at the Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Bono Regional Police Command appealed to Traditional Authorities to desist from intervening in cases of sexual-based violence to allow the Police to prosecute suspects.
He said cases of indecent assault, rape, and defilement were recording disturbing figures in the region and appealed to the queens to be vigilant and help the Police to apprehend and prosecute suspects.
The Police also required support from the queens for swift investigations in such cases that happened at the community level, Mr. Asare added.