Ghana

Child streetism suit:  Supreme Court tosses Child Rights case

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the suit filed by Child Rights Inter­national against the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General over child streetism.

Child Rights International Executive Director, Bright Appiah (Plaintiff), asked the court to de­clare that the Government of Gha­na is in breach of articles 15(1), (2), 13(1) and 35(4) of the 1992 Constitution for not ensuring that children receive special protection against exposure to physical and moral hazards as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana, 1992.

In the writ filed on March 3, 2022, Mr Appiah stated that child streetism posed threat to the na­tion’s security, and urged the court to compel the A-G, the principal legal advisor to the government, to resolve this conundrum.

The seven member panel of judges presided over by the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Torkor­noo, said the plaintiff, Mr Bright Appiah, the Executive Director of Child Rights International, failed to properly invoke the jurisdiction of the court.

The court said that although the concerns of the plaintiff were germane, he ought to put his house in order.

The Chief Justice said the decision was available and that the parties could apply for copies.

After the decision of the court, Mr Appiah told journalists that child streetism was a national secu­rity issue which cannot be glossed over.

He said the legal team would study the decision and act accord­ingly.

Mr Appiah sued the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General in March 2022, and asked the court to declare that the Government of Ghana was in breach of articles 15(1), (2), 13(1) and 35(4) of the 1992 Constitution for not ensuring that children receive special protec­tion against exposure to physical and moral hazards as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana, 1992.

The plaintiff said he initiated the instant action in his capacity as a registered organisation interested in upholding the respect for and compliance with the 1992 Consti­tution, and the rule of law and in ensuring that the rules in question did not infringe the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution.

He was asking the court to state whether on a true and proper inter­pretation of clauses (1) (c) and (d), clauses (2), (3) and (4) of article 28 of the Constitution and clauses (1) and (2) of article 15, clause (1) of article 13 and clause (4) of article 35 of the Constitution, the current conditions of children living on the streets in Ghana were inconsistent with the said provisions.

The applicant, whose works sought to protect and safeguard the social, educational, and con­stitutional rights, was asking the court for a number of reliefs and declaration.

Among them was the declaration that the Government of Ghana was in breach of articles 25(a), 28 (1) (a), (d), (2) (3) (4), 13(1) and 37 of the 1992 Constitution for not taking urgent steps to ensure that children received special protection against exposure to physical and moral hazards; did not engage in work that constituted threat to their health, education or develop­ment and that children were not deprived of medical treatment, education or any social or econom­ic benefit.

Mr Appiah, therefore, urged the court to make an order directed at the government to establish Child Protection Units in the municipals where child exploitation for beg­ging and work was high.

He also urged the court to issue an order directed at the govern­ment to define by law penalties for family members, local government units and schools that did not guar­antee the observance of children in street situation rights.

An order directed at the govern­ment to define by law penalties for child exploitation for begging or other forms of economic ex­ploitation to punish all those who may try to benefit or gain money from children’s work.

 BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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