Despite constitutional and legislative guarantees for the rights of persons with disabilities (PWD), it is clear that Ghana’s disability laws are failing its people and that discrimination of the disabled continues to undermine the progress of democratic participation of all Ghanaian people.
Ghana’s Disability Law, 2006 (Act 715) which was passed in 2006, aimed at ending the discrimination that faces people with disabilities but the ten-year moratorium given by the Act which promised person’s with disability access to public building is still not materialized said Mr Alex Tetteh.
Access to public building such as the hospitals, Schools among others is not made accessible to people with disability. ‘’there are certain places which you have to climb staircase, which person’s with disability can’t, therefore making it difficult to have access to those places.”
He made this known in an interview with Public Agenda during a three-day strategic workshop which opened in Accra on Tuesday for Civil Society Organisations to draw a roadmap for the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Mechanism.
The workshop, which was organised by POS Foundation, in collaboration with UPR Info Africa Kenya, was funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Mr Alex Tetteh, who works for Centre for Employment for Person’s with Disability added that, although their rights are guaranteed both by Ghana’s Constitution and by International Conventions, in reality these provisions have offered them very little actual protection against discrimination and therefore calls for the government to enforce the disability Act to protect PWDs.
Mr Tetteh said, Persons with disabilities in Ghana are often regarded as unproductive and incapable of contributing in a positive way to society so the government should create more avenues for persons with disability. Once you are able to complete university, you should be able to work in any public organization.
“We are appealing to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to employ more PWDs to handle the Toll Booth across the country to reduce the number of PWDs begging by the roadside.”
Mr Tetteh noted that, advocacy about people with disability has reduced mostly because they don’t get the chance to involve themselves with advocacy.
On the issue of abuse, he said, person’s with disability are abused daily especially the women. The women are vulnerable and easily fall victim to rape and other assault. Those who also sell by the roadside end up losing their money and their goods.’’ People take advantage of our vulnerability and run away with their goods or money.
Dr Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, commended CSOs for their commitments towards human rights.
She said the UPR process was a unique instrument because it gave opportunity to all member states to come together and think critically on the progress made in human rights protection.
She stated that the UN was committed to working with the Ministry of Justice, CSOs and partners to help Ghana respond to the ratifications that came from the UPR review.
Mr Sylvester Williams, a Senior State Attorney, said the Government was committed to ensuring that the recommendations were carried out, hence the approval of the request by the Attorney General to set up the Inter-Ministerial National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-ups.
By: Latifa Carlos