Human Rights Abuse

One may ask what is human rights abuse? Human rights abuse is an infringement on the rights and freedoms of an individual. This means preventing people from enjoying the rights or freedoms that the constitution has given them as citizens.


Some examples of human rights abuses are child abuse, child labor, sex trade, child kidnapping, child trafficking, domestic slavery, violence against women and discrimination.

Child abuse is any cruel treatment of children such as beating, calling nasty names, insulting, cursing and so on. In other words, it is the bad treatment of a child by an adult – especially by an adult in a position of trust or authority.

Child trafficking is a practice of taking children from their homes to work in jobs known as ‘kayayo’ and other laborious jobs elsewhere. For example, many young girls and boys are brought from Northern Ghana to the Southern part of Ghana to work as common carriers (kayayo).

Sex trade forces or traps young girls into sexual activities for money. Mostly, the money goes to the person who employs them.

Child labor is the act of employing children under 15 years of age in income generating activities. For example, children forced to sell ice water and items like rubber bags just to support themselves or their family instead of being in school.

Child kidnapping is the practice of kidnapping or taking children away from their parents without the consent of the parents.

There are people who suffer human rights abuse more often than other sectors of the Ghanaian population. These include people living in conflict areas and minority groups in towns and villages. Some of the reasons why such people are vulnerable to human rights abuse include low education, poverty, apathy and lack of political representation.

Human rights abuse can be prevented in a number of ways. Some of these include: education, active role of the courts, Ghana National Commission on Children, National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Department of Social Welfare, the Juvenile Unit of Ghana Police Service (WAJU) and the role of the media.

When people go to school they get educated on human rights abuse and can help to prevent it from happening. The role of the court is to provide justice, sanctions and compensation for the abused person. The role of the Ghana National Commission on children is to help to protect the rights of children. The role of the Department of Social Welfare is to help in the community, especially women and children who cannot go to the law courts because of poverty. With the help of all these institutions, there can definitely be an improvement in preventing human abuse cases.

Written by:

Jennifer Mills

A member of the PAAJAF Foundation