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Update Ghana’s laws to protect children online – J Initiative

Aug. 20, 2018, 10:23 a.m.

J Initiative, a child and family focused organisation in Ghana, has emphasised the need to review the country’s laws to reflect its readiness to protect children online in a globalised world and era of ICT revolution.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Awo Aidam Amenyah made the call at a two-day stakeholder’s workshop aimed at amending Ghana’s child-related legislations.

Stakeholders have begun a dialogue on position papers on the amendment of child related legislations. The dialogue looked at 3 key child-related issues including Child Online Protection (COP).

The dialogue was led by the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) with support from UNICEF Ghana and Canada Fund.

Speaking at the dialogue, immediate past minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Otiko Afisah Djaba said the dialogue offered stakeholders a great opportunity to review emerging issues for the protection of children in all spaces – physical and virtual – at home, school, communities and institutions.

“Every effort put in the dialogue will help strengthen our legislation for the protection, safety and development of our children today and for the future”, she added.

Presenting the position paper for Child Online Protection, the Executive Director of J Initiative, Awo Aidam Amenyah said bodies like the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Expert Group on COP, WeProtect have all attested to the importance of multi-stakeholder approach to Child Online Protection.

She added that, “It is the right of the child to use the digital space to learn, play, interact, among all other profitable uses: our responsibility as adults is to guarantee their safety and security in that imaginary environment.

“Therefore if that environment is hurting them, we do not need to throw our arms in despair rather we must see to it that appropriate measures are put in place for them per acceptable standards”.

She went on to state that “considering the blurred lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres now, children’s access to the Internet has become a complex policy area. And this complexity demands an approach to policy which is inclusive, expertise driven and the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders.”

Madam Aidam Amenyah outlined some treaties Ghana must ratify in order to enhance the country’s existing laws.

Key among them are the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Convention on the protection of children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse that is the Lanzarote Convention.