Knowing what rights you do have is the first way to recognizing when someone is abusing them.
The Ghana Bar Association recognizes this fact and has set up workshops centered on teaching school children about their rights and responsibilities.
“I think that the program is good because I want to be educated about my rights,” one child said. This child was one of hundreds that filled room, all in different colours representing their different schools.
The children were asked to prepare questions about their social and economic rights to ask several lawyers who volunteered to visit children. One by one, the children would stand up and ask their question to the lawyers.
Many of their questions were about their rights as children, specifically when looking at child labour. Many school age children work for their parents after school, selling the market or streets. They asked about hours and what are appropriate jobs for them to be helping out with.
One child asked about helping at his parents restaurant business because it serves alcohol as well as food. The lawyers told him that as long as it is before eight o’clock and he does not serve the alcohol, it is okay for him to help his parents out.
Child labour is defined through law as a person under 18 who is deprived of health, education or development. It also prohibits children from working after eight o’clock at night.
Other questions were based around the family. One boy stood up and asked, “if my parents get divorced, do I have the right to choose who I live with?”
Joseph, 12, enjoyed the workshop and learned more about what makes a good citizen of Ghana, saying, “doing the program, I got to know my rights and learned that every right also goes with a responsibility.”
The Ghana Bar Association has chosen child rights as its theme for the month of July.