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We fatten all animals to fatten ourselves and we fatten ourselves for maggots Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Agbenyo John Stephen, Ghana Feb 2, 2008
Culture , Human Rights   Opinions


Each year the World Day Against Child Labour has often focused on one of the “Worst Forms of Child labour” listed in Convention No.182, starting with the Unconditional Worst Forms, such as child trafficking.

This was then followed by child domestic work and then child labour in mining last year. The event is aimed at mobilizing people around the world against child labour and its worst forms, reflecting local cultures and customs, while encouraging the participation of authorities, the media, civil society and the public at large.

In all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions. Children who find themselves in the above scene need special consideration. The U.N.O on the 20th of November 1989 adopted a convention dubbed “The convention of the Rights of the child” This convention came to force on 3rd September 1990 The multimillion-dollar question to ask is; after 17 years and now 18 years of endless discussions on the rights of the child, what impact has it made? After 17 good years of noise on the rights of the child, the plight of the Ghanaian child seems not to have changed a bit.

A parent is naturally known to be loving and caring to his or her child but recently, many parents bring forth children and leave them to the mercy of life. This unfortunate young brothers and sisters who find themselves in this situation soon become immune to the popular law of nature which says that “No matter the condition, man must not eat grass”. They are thus forced by the forces of nature to engage themselves in all sorts of inhuman activities all in the name of survival.

To add, the fact that modern luxury has diverted and affected the rational thinking of man cannot be over emphasised .The “rich” class care less for these unfortunate children. They eat lavishly and wash it down with whisky only to belch deeply and become tipsy while these children squat with nothing more than nearly empty bowls of polluted food and water.

Those who are lucky to be picked by these rich men are used as beasts of burdens. They are made to work sheepishly and eat meagerly; and those who fail to perform their tasks are mercilessly beaten. Hungry flies gather round the smelly sores these unfortunate young brothers and sisters sustain from the rich men’s whip.

A walk on the streets will bring to bear the fact that the art of being in the street is at its zenith. Just imagine a child as young as seven years, fending for himself or herself. Yes, this is very real. Go to the various boarding schools especially the senior secondary schools and you will count not less than twenty under aged children who are more than qualified to benefit from the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education “working” in the kitchen and dinning halls of these schools .I am talking of the “all blacks”.

Ghana, our beloved country has a number of laws which deals with some of the problems discussed above. The government and all related agencies that seek the welfare of the child should let the axe of the law hack where necessary. As concerned citizens, it behoves us to help curb this social menace.

To those parents who know very well the art of “bedmatics”, but lack the ability to cater for their wards, I encourage them to go into a self-reflexive mood. It is their duty to respect and love their children and provide all their needs. To the rich class, they should remember that “we fatten all animals to fatten ourselves and we fatten ourselves for maggots”.

I wish to use this medium to congratulate the late Alfred Appiah and his new successor, the director of Child Rights International and his team for the good work they are doing.

At 50 years of age, and hopefully 51 in March, what we need to ask ourselves is; what have we done with the child? What is the state of the Ghanaian Child?



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