Sightsavers and her global partners including the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) on Monday 10th June, 2019, launched a petition at the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, held at UN headquarters in New York, calling for disability rights to be upheld by the UN and its member States.
Specifically, the petition includes a call to the government of Ghana, as a member of UN, to ratify the African disability protocol and adopt an employment equity policy to promote equal and accessible employment for persons with disabilities.
Sightsavers and the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations argue that this is vital to ensure the equal rights of people with disabilities are respected in Ghana and around the world.
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations and Sightsavers are expected to jointly launch this national campaign in Ghana on the 26th of June 2019.
It is estimated that 15 per cent of the world’s population has some form of disability. The Equal World campaign aims to change the fact that in many countries people with disabilities experience high levels of discrimination that prevent them from taking part in society.
Sightsavers’ Spokesperson on Social Inclusion, Madam Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, said: “In Ghana and around the world, people with disabilities are denied the rights to go to school, find a job, access health care and take part in political processes. This discrimination is an injustice on a mass scale”. “Our petition for disability rights has two goals. At a global level, it calls on the United Nations to make sure that its recently published disability strategy is implemented effectively. At a national level, we are calling on our own governments to ratify or implement disability laws and meet commitments they have made on disability inclusion, including the ratification of the African Disability Protocol.”
The campaign is ambitious in its scale and is working with local disability groups and individuals around the world to get as many signatures as possible.
The President of Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Madam Mawuyo Yarko-Dagbah said: “We want all Ghanaians and the world community to show support towards disability rights and inclusion. Support our campaign by signing the petition and adding your voices to our call to the UN. Together, let us call for the Change we want at the UN for full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities in our societies.” As well as its global call to the UN, the Equal World petition has specific calls to action targeting the governments of Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. Petition signatures will be collected between June and September, and the petition will be handed in to the UN and relevant member State governments in September.
Sightsavers campaign Equal World calls on the United Nations and member states to improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world by promoting disability rights and inclusion throughout its work. The charity has campaigned for disability-inclusive global development since 2013, and in that time has seen significant recognition of disability as a priority issue
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) is a national umbrella organisation of organisations of persons with disabilities in Ghana. Its vision is “an inclusive society for all persons with disabilities in Ghana”, and the mission is “to advocate the rights of Persons with Disability by influencing policies, programmes and activities at the national and local levels and to strengthen the organisations of Persons with Disabilities”. GFD currently has nine member organisations which are Ghana Blind Union, Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Inclusion Ghana – a group of people with intellectual disability, Share Care Ghana – a group of people with auto-immune and neurological disorders, Ghana Burns Survivors Foundation and Ghana Stammering Association. GFD also works with Deafblind and people with leprosy. The Federation has advocated enactment of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) and the Mental Health Act, as well as ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Ghana in 2012.