Parental perceptions of child labour and human rights: A comparative study of rural and urban Ghana Academic Article uri icon


  • Considering the inherently hazardous nature of some artisanal fishing and farm work in Ghana, there is sometimes a thin line between what is considered child work and child labour. I drew on literature exploring cultural relativism and human rights and the concept of the margin of appreciation in considering whether child labour violates human rights. I aimed to establish parental perceptions of child labour and human rights in rural and urban Ghana amongst 60 government officials, NGO representatives, and both parents whose children were/were not involved in child labour. The average age of participants was 31 years. Semistructured interviews were conducted with parents (10), stakeholders (10), focus groups (30); and participant observation techniques (10) utilised to gather the needed data and purposively sampled across rural areas (Ankaase, Anwiankwanta and Kensere), and urban areas (Jamestown, Korle Gonno and Chorkor) in Ghana. Interviews were recorded, transcribed utilising a framework approach as the main data analysis method. The paper finds that children are engaged in work to teach them work ethics as most parents consider work socialisation as beneficial for children and society. The paper also finds that knowledge of human rights makes parents more committed to children's welfare. Overall, the paper finds that sensitivity to the economic and cultural context is important in understanding the issue of child labour and, more generally, in applying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and working out the parenting policies and practices that are in the best interests of the child.

publication date

  • 2018