Early and forced marriages are rife in the Kintampo Municipal and Nkoranza North District and statistics showed that the two municipalities had recorded 66 cases of forced and early marriages, with the Kintampo Municipality recording the highest figure of 53 cases.
Mr Thomas Benarkuu, Project Coordinator of Mission of Hope Society (MIHOSO) International, a human right and health centered non-governmental organisation, told the GNA that the data was collected from the Department of Social Welfare, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and Ghana Education Service.
Mr Benarkuu said teenage pregnancy was a driving force behind early and forced marriages in the two districts and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 had to stop their education and forcibly go into marriage when they got pregnant.
He said despite enactment of Legislative Instruments, human right abuses were still widespread, especially in some deprived areas in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
This, he said, was because majority of the people in those areas were ignorant about the laws.
Mr Benarkuu said enforcement of the Children�s Act 1998, the Criminal Code, Domestic Violence Act of 2007, Human Trafficking Act of 2005, and the Juvenile Justice Act of 2003 was not encouraging in controlling human right abuses.
He said according to some of the parents in the districts, they encouraged their pregnant girls into marriages in order to alleviate additional financial burdens the girls brought on their families.
Mr Benarkuu said the situation had brought about high school dropouts among girls in the two districts, who after marriage engaged in petty trading to support their families.
He said strict enforcement of legislations against child marriage was very critical to ending the societal canker.
Mr Benarkuu said a radical approach was required to end challenging and harmful customs, traditions and practices that did not comply with human rights standards.
Such harmful customs and practices erode the status and dignity of girls, and young women, he said.
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