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Gov’t urged to give Attention to Child Protection Issues in Mining Areas

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A pro-child non-governmental organization, Child Rights International (CRI), has thrown its weight behind the government’s quest to fight the galamsey menace in the country, urging it to give attention to social and child protection issues in mining areas.

A study carried out by CRI revealed that children are involved in galamsey and this according to the organization is a threat not only to the life of these children but to the country as well since the country risks losing great leaders and increase in children’s vulnerability to disease due to the pollution of the environment by galamsey activities.

In each of the households visited in the mining areas, the study said there was a family member who was engaged in illegal mining. 30 children, according to the study were identified working constantly in galamsey. Other children, the study stated were providing one services or the other.

The study revealed further that over 2, 99 children are high risk of child labour which includes galamsey in eight districts. The study which was done with respect to the households of particular farmer groups were carried out in Ahafo Ano South, Ahafo Ano North, Asutifi South and Bebiani Dirstrict.

Out of the selected communities under these districts, 806 farmer group households were interviewed. In all, 4,455 members were found in the 806 households out of which 2181 were male and 2,274 were female.

A total of 1547 children were identified under these households. Out of the 987 children between the ages of 5 to 17 are involved in all the above mentioned districts include galamsey, cocoa farming, domestic servitude, street hawking, begging, cattle herding, fishing and carting of heavy loads.

Mr. Bright Appiah, Executive Director of Child Rights International who made the outcome of the study known to journalists at a news conference in Accra as part of its monthly child protection accountability series said in carrying out measures to halt the galamsey, it believed that government must also look at the social protection implications on the people including children and put measures in place to draw the affected individuals into Ghana’s social safety net.

Mr. Appiah said his outfit proposed that government must take appropriate step to investigate the condition of children and households in the family in order to support their welfare of affected individuals.

At the end of the investigation, the Executive Director of Child Rights International contended that family and children identified must be put under maintenance and rehabilitation programmes for effective integration into society. The identification of such children according to Mr. Appiah can enable the government to withdraw them and develop remediation plan for families.

In doing so, he adds that informal and formal community structures who play a role in child protection such as the traditional system, child protection committees, school management committees, social welfare, DOVVSU among others must have built their capacity in ensuring that these children live in a safe environment free of anything that infringes on their rights.

The Executive Director of Child Rights International called on government to make its social protection programmes known in the handling and the stoppage of galamsey activities in the country urging all Ghanaians to support government in eradicating the menace and creating an environment worthy of living for all.

Source: Adovor Nutifafa                                                                                                                       





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