The protection of the rights of a child is imperative in ensuring the complete development of a child. Yet in Ghana, child rights remain an alien concept to many. This scary reality is due to a number of reasons such as culture, ignorance and even hostility to the idea of child rights.
Major facilitators of child rights in Ghana are parents, teachers, society and the state. It may be heartbreaking to know that the basic custodian and protector of a child’s rights in many instances as parents fail dramatically. This creates an upsetting phenomenon considering the fact that the home is the foundational unit of a child’s growth and development.
In Ghana, because of the high prevalence of poverty, many parents think of the concept of child rights as luxury and usually ignore them. Some parents who actually provide and protect the rights of their children usually limit them to education and healthcare. This is a common situation in many homes because education and healthcare is viewed as imperative without the consideration of it as a right of a child. This is a typical display of the general insensitivity of most people to child rights.
Generally, culture has been one of the retrogressive factors in the fight for human rights and child rights remain inclusive. Culture creates a bubble of normalcy for people to operate in without a sense of misconduct. Most parents in Ghana ignore child rights they deem contrary to culture such as the right of a child to have an opinion in making decisions that affects the child. In certain cultures, the education of a girl is discouraged while other view children as sources of cheap labor and sex object for marriages. It is a popular belief under many Ghanaian cultural concepts that a child has no voice or personality until he or she becomes of age. This notion is typically expressed when a child is figuratively expected to remain invisible in a gathering of adults by not making any contributions or ask any questions even when it concerns the child. A child is literally taught not to have a voice. This infringement of a child’s right has unfortunately been normalized by culture without the awareness or consideration of the detrimental effects it has on a child’s development.
Children have been made susceptible to abuse because of the cultural structure of community that makes any adult have power or control over children whether they are strangers or not. It is indeed a heartbreaking thought that a pedophile could easily invite a child into the privacy of his or her home to do a chore or run an errand because culture makes this normal.
The best solution to re-orienting the notions and mindset of people about the normalization of child abuse is through education. Educating parents, teachers, communities and also the children about child rights is the surest way of making strides in the fight against the normalization of child rights abuse.