Child labour issues must be addressed to the core

Some of the dignitaries at the musical concert to mark the World Day Against Child Labour

Head of EU Delegation to Ghana

The Head of EU Delegation to Ghana, Ambassador Diana Acconcia, has called for a holistic and more systemic approach in tackling the issue of child labour given the complexity of the problem and its multiple root causes.

While acknowledging that “Ghana has made important progress in tackling child labour issues with successful programmes, mainly on education,” Ambassador Acconcia also noted “child labour still exists.”

To this end, she said “we are exploring various options to increase effectiveness and ensure sustainable impacts of our actions to stop child labour,” and urged that “only working together, in close cooperation, we can achieve our objective to eliminate child labour in all its form by 2025 (SDG 8, target 7).”

“This 2021 year is pivotal for the EU: for the International Year on the elimination of child labour we are strongly committed to increase our efforts, scale up our actions and work even more with our partners,” she stated.

The Head of EU Delegation to Ghana, who was speaking at a musical event to commemorate (one day in advance) the World Day Against Child Labour, reiterated that promoting decent work and ending child labour worldwide is a top priority for the EU.

“Children’s rights are universal and the EU reinforces its commitment to protect, promote and fulfil these rights across the globe.”

It is important to highlight that not all work performed by children is considered child labour. Light work for limited hours performed by children to help family farming is beneficial provided it does not interfere with their education and well-being.

The UNICEF Representative in Ghana Child Labour in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay, also recommended that it is smart to invest in durable, holistic, and transformative solutions that support children’s right to identity, health, protection, and education.

She said “only 7 in 10 children are protected by a legal status, down from 8 in 10.”

Against this background, she called on the government to waive the late birth registration fee to make it easier for families to obtain birth certificates. “We also ask the private sector to ensure that their employees are above 18 years of age. And we encourage consumers to demand child-labour free products.”

She noted that it is critical to invest in social protection, to prevent children from being forced into child labor and to help their families meet their basic needs. This includes expanding the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer programme, to reach all eligible families, who can also be enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme.

This should be done through integrated social services and referral systems across sectors, social workers can also play a key role in managing cases and having a positive impact in the lives of the most vulnerable children.

Anne-Claire Dufay also restated the call for Parliament to ratify the optional protocol that protects against the sale of children and trafficking while indicating that Ghana was the first country in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Ghana can continue leading by example and ensure that all boys and girls realize their rights.” The UNICEF and UN Country Team in Ghana, she said, stands with the government, the European Union and all our partners in these joint efforts to reverse the upward trend in child labour.

The “Sing along with us against child labour in Ghana Concert to mark the World Day Against Child Labour” saw performances from Achiaa, Karfah, King Phronesis and Afri Danish Band.

Other performers include EliSix30, Kwame and Kpodo, Wemuye, Tsemi, Ratty Ghana, Dzidzorm and Njimine Franklin.

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