The Court and Police Protection of the Rights and Welfare of Juvenile Offenders during Arrest, Detention and Trial in Ghana (Published)
This study sought to explore and describe the practice of juvenile justice administration in Ghana within the context of the spirit and goals of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), together with other international instruments and principles on the protection and promotion of the rights of youth offenders. It thus aimed at identifying the gap that exists between stated principles and actual practice, and also sensitizes and mobilize the Ghanaian public and government on the need for humane treatment of young offenders in the country. In Ghana, governments have demonstrated the political will in the protection of rights and welfare of its children by being the first country to ratify the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. Besides, Ghana’s Constitution and other status and regulations of the country protect the rights and welfare of juvenile offenders. Thus, since the 1990s, after the country had returned to constitutional and democratic rule, various mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the promotion and maintenance of basic human rights, especially the right of children in the spirit of the UNCRC. There are, however, circumstances that compromise the enjoyment of these rights and welfare of juvenile offenders in the country. The goal of the study was achieved by carrying out a research in one of the Ghana’s Borstal Institute and Osu Remand Home in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The study was guided by this research question – How do the court and police protect the rights and welfare of juvenile offenders during arrest, detention and trial in Ghana? Data on the above were collected by employing structured questionnaire, face-to-face in-depth interviews and focus group discussions among a sample size of eighty-four (84). Findings of the study indicated that apart from the detention of juvenile offenders in the same holding cell with adults, and for more than 48 hours, they also face punitive treatments in the hands of the police and the custodial officers during detention and custody. It was also revealed that majority of juvenile offenders were also denied legal representation during trial. On the basis of the findings, this study recommended the need for a holistic approach in fulfilling the contents of all the treaties Ghana has ratified in connection with the protection of the rights and welfare of its juvenile offenders in its juvenile justice administration.
CHILD LABOUR AND ITS SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS ON CHILDREN IN SELECTED CITIES IN NIGERIA (Review Completed - Accepted)
Severe economic crisis has contributed to the rise in the incidence of child labour in Nigerian cities. For many hours a day, children are engaged in economic tasks (paid and unpaid for), which are detrimental to their physical, mental, social and moral well-being. For these children, involvement in child labour has limited their social relevance to the immediate and larger society. The main objective of this study therefore, is to examine the social implications of child labour on children in selected Nigerian cities. The specific objectives of the study include: (i) assess the incidence of child labour in the Nigerian cities, (ii) examine the implications of child labour on children’s education, health and delinquent behaviour.
The study adopts survey research method in which relevant data were collected through administered questionnaire to respondents. The respondents were selected from three cities in Nigeria namely; Ibadan, Enugu, and Kaduna. The cities were selected based on their strategic importance as former administrative centres of the three old regions of Nigeria. Some of these areas were chosen randomly in each city and a total of 826 child labourers were selected as respondents using judgemental sampling method. Chi-square was used to determine the relationship between the type of child labour engaged in and respondents’ social characteristics.
Findings from the study revealed that: (i) child labour activities fall into different categories namely, bus conducting, car washing, hawking, begging and others such as weaving, tailoring, hairdressing and auto-repairing, (ii) most children who engage in child labour are largely from the lower economic stratum of the society; (iv) incidence of child labour was also significantly related to the rate of child’s health status (r = 0.21> t0.05); school attendance (r = -0.62 > t0.05); academic performance (r =0.39 > t0.05) their delinquent behaviours (r =0.57 > t0.05);contact with parent (r = 0.24 > t0.05) and child’s exploitation by employers (r= 0.31 > t0.05).
In conclusion, children who engage in economic activities are found to be different with respect to their social development. It is therefore recommended that: (i) strict measure should be taken by appropriate authorities to curtail employers from engaging under-aged children in hazardous jobs that can impair their health status and hinder their educational development; (ii) there should be public enlightenment programmes, targeted at the poor section of the population, on the negative implications of child labour to the victims (the children), the family and the society at large; (iii) efforts should be made to embark on realistic and practicable poverty alleviation programmes aimed at reducing the incidence of poverty among Nigerians which was found to be a major cause of child labour; and (iv) governments at all levels in Nigeria should take practical steps to enforce the existing legislation on free basic (primary) education as a way of removing many child labourers from the street to the class.