Albert Futukpor, GNA
Tamale, Aug. 20, GNA – The practice of
Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM) in the country has reduced “many girls
to baby producing machines”, Mr Joseph Whittal, Deputy Commissioner of
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has said.
He said the practice of CEFM continued to
perpetuate issues of gender inequality, poverty, maternal and child mortality
in the country.
He said this when making a presentation at a
workshop in Tamale on the topic: “The Prevalence of Child, Early and Forced
Marriages in Ghana: Facts and Figures”.
The two-day workshop, organized by CHRAJ and
the Commonwealth Secretariat, was attended by traditional leaders and
queen-mothers drawn from the Northern (N/R), Upper East (UER) and Upper West Regions
It focused on strengthening the capacities
of the participants to champion the elimination of CEFM in N/R, UER and UWR in
line with the Kigali Declaration of 2015 to move from aspiration to action to
prevent and eliminate CEFM in the Commonwealth.
According to the 2011 Multiple Indicator
Cluster Survey, one in four girls are married off before their 18th birthday
with the practice recording 39.2 per cent in UER, 36.7 per cent in Western
Region, 36.3 per cent in UWR and 27.4 per cent in N/R, making the country to
fall among countries with highest prevalence of CEFM in the world.
Mr Whittal said the country risked not
attaining the Sustainable Development Goals if urgent actions were not taken to
address the high prevalence of CEFM.
He expressed his pleasure at the attendance
of traditional leaders and queen-mothers saying it was indicative of their
willingness to contribute to eliminating the practice.
He expressed need for the sections of the
Criminal Offences Act on consent to sexual intercourse to be in tandem with the
age of marriage set under the Children’s Act to address the issue of CEFM in
Advocate Karen McKenzie, Head of Human
Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said a major role lay on traditional
leaders and queen-mothers in eliminating CEFM emphasizing the need to protect
the girl-child from the CEFM practice in the country.
A testimony of a victim of CEFM, read by
Madam Esther Boateng, Programmes Manager of Action Aid Ghana, caused participants
to express their abhorrence to the practice by shaking their heads in