The Upper West (U/W) Regional Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for constitutional amendment to raise the legal marriage age from 18 to 22 years.
The Department appealed to state authorities to consider amending relevant portions of Ghana’s constitution for upward adjustment of the current legal marriage age for adequate protection of the rights of the Ghanaian children.
Head of Department of Children in Upper West, Madam Matilda Chireh, made the call in Wa during the celebration of the 2019 African Union Day of the Child in Wa.
The Department in partnership with Plan International joined the rest of African nations to celebrate the day, which was on the theme: “Humanitarians action in Africa child rights first”.
Heads of Departments and Agencies, teachers and pupils from basic schools in the Wa Municipality participated in the commemoration day focusing on actions to protect the rights of children.
The Day gives government, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders the opportunity to take stock of progress made and identify challenges towards realization of the right of African children.
It is observed in honour of thousands of black African children who suffered brutalities in 1976 during a protest match on the streets of Soweto, South Africa, against inferior quality of education offered them.
The children protesters had demanded to be taught in their own languages but security personnel shot, killed and injured thousands of the young children on 16th June, 1976.
“It is in honour of these gallant children that the African Union has set aside 16th June every year to celebrate children across Africa,” Madam Chireh said.
This year’s day fell on a weekend so authorities had to push the celebration date to Monday.
She said though Ghana was not under any humanitarian crisis, many Ghanaian children were engaged in labour, teenage pregnancy and sexual exploitation.
Others are also seen at lorry parks selling water and other items while some parents give out their teenage girls for marriage and boys offered as cowboys due to abject poverty.
“If the children of Ghana would demonstrate today, it would either be against the right to education, child labour or child marriage,” she said.
The Upper West Regional Manager of Plan International, Eric Ayaaba, said the non-governmental organisation was ready to partner stakeholders to deal with issues affecting children’s rights.
“Plan International is an NGO that have its focus on the right of the children and we are ready to partner government and other stake holders that work in line of ensuring equal right of children whether a boy or a girl,” he said.