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Madam Grace - Antwi and Mawunyo Yakor-Dagba

GFD, Sightsavers urge Ghana to ratify Africa Disability Protocol

A clarion call has been made to the government of Ghana to as a matter of importance ratify the African Disability Protocol (ADP) to concretize the rights of Persons with Disability in Ghana and the continent as a whole.   

The proponents, Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) and Sightsavers believe that the ratification of the ADP has the potential to address, political, economic, and social issues affecting people with disabilities such as harmful practices, systemic discrimination, social exclusion, increased rates of poverty, risk of violence and abuse, particularly for persons with albinism, women, girls and older people with disabilities.

Speaking at a stakeholder meeting organized by the GFD in collaboration with Sightsavers in Accra on Tuesday, Mawunyo Yakor-Dagba, President of GFD, underscored the need for Ghana to ratify the ADP.

 Madam Yakor-Dagba said the ADP is to promote, protect, and ensure that the inherent discrimination against Persons with disabilities is cured permanently. She said the Protocol is expected to deal with issues of customs, traditional beliefs, harmful practices, the role of the family, caregivers and community, as well as addressing issues of ritual killings among others.

 She urged all civil society groups and individuals to rally around the campaign to get the government of Ghana to ratify the Africa Disability Protocol.

Presenting the tenets of the ADP participants Grace Antwi-Atsu, Senior Global Advocacy Advisor, responsible for West Africa at Sightsavers explained that Protocol requires the deposit of 15 instruments of ratification by AU Member States to come into force.

 Madam Antwi-Atsu indicated that as at the last update, 11 signatures had been garnered. These include Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, and Togo.)

Five Countries, including Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali, and Rwanda have ratified the ADP.

She added that “ratification by 10 more states will ensure that the Protocol enters into force. The requisite number of ratifications at the regional level will bring the Protocol into effect, allowing persons with disabilities on the continent to fully enjoy its protection.”

 She is therefore encouraging the government of Ghana to ratify the ADP as a matter of urgency

She continued that although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and received the highest number of signatories on its opening day, the ADP response to African Contextual issues in ways that only an Africa specific protocol does.

She pointed out that coming after the UNCRPD, the ADP takes into account the general comments and observations of the UNCRPD. It, therefore, builds on the rights enshrined in UNCRPD and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The language of the Protocol, according to  Madam Grace – Antwi is disability friendly and uses the rights-based approach and is more detailed and illustrative to bring out the peculiarities of the African context. She added that the ADP complements the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 She said the ADP goes beyond the UNCRPD by adding articles on: harmful practices ( Article 11);  youths with disabilities ( Article 29); older persons with disabilities (Article 30); and self-representation ( Article 22); duties of persons with disabilities (Article 31); popularisation of the protocol ( Article 35) and safeguard clause ( Article 36).           

The African Disability Protocol was developed as the disability protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Thus, the ADP is the AU’s legal framework for ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities are upheld.

By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagendagh.com

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