Child Rights International’s Executive Director, Mr. Bright Appiah, held a brief press conference to address the importance of protecting children in Ghana during the country’s 2016 election period.
The use of children during the voting process and in political party campaigns is a recurring issue that has been encountered in Ghana’s past elections. Thus, Mr. Bright Appiah states it is crucial that Ghana’s Electoral Commission, security agencies and the media take the appropriate steps to protect the rights of children during this pressing time.
“We have raised issues in relation to non-participatory rights of children in Ghana and how all parties must work to protect children from engaging in political activities, be it in a form of advertisement and endorsement etc. Political parties have demonstrated a commitment to protecting the non-participatory rights of children, as we see minimal use of children in political activities. On this we want to congratulate the political parties for demonstrating their commitment and do hope we continue in our collective efforts to protect children in Ghana,” he explained.
One major issue raised at the conference was the need to include environments where children would be present as ‘flashpoint’ that require maximum security. Mr Appiah explained that although the electoral commission and security forces had marked out flashpoints for the election, it was necessary that children’s environments such as schools, children’s parks and correctional homes are added to flashpoints because even in the absence of children, there is the need to protect facilities that aid their development.
He cautioned the media to endeavour to report positively and protectively on children at all times and entreated parents and guardians not to let children out of sight on December 7.
During the question and answer period, many valid points were raised.
A representative from the Ghana News Agency asked about what CRI is doing to protect children during election time.
CRI has contacted the electoral commission about the importance of protecting children during the election period, including the usage of children in political adverts. When we raised alarm to the electoral commission during the last election in 2008 that children were being used to register votes, the issue was promptly addressed.
In addition, Child Rights International continues our long-standing advocacy work, not just because of the election, but to continuously ensure that issues related to children and child protection are being raised and addressed.