People with Disability should be treated fairly – CHRAJ
Mr Lawrence Kweku Lartey, Chief Investigator and Greater Accra Regional Director of Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Thursday said People With Disability should be treated fairly and made to enjoy their human rights and freedoms.
He said people with disability suffered from discrimination in all sectors of the society thus; families, working environment, employment and had no right to access any public buildings and transport.
Mr Lartey was delivering the keynote address at “Rights of Persons With a Disability in Ghana Forum organised by Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHO) a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Accra.
It is an NGO founded to provide human rights protection to the people of Ghana by providing awareness, monitoring and resolution on human rights issues facing Ghana.
Mr Lartey noted that as far as disability rights were concerned, CHRAJ was engaged in different activities in promoting advocacy and public education, which included investigation of specific complaints and state of human rights in Ghana.
He said stated that CHRAJ had also using a working manual to regulate activities during the year for the disability in society.
Mr Lartey said that a tour by CHRAJ to 233 schools revealed that no disability facility was provided to support persons living with disability hence unable to access school facilities.
He asked government and stakeholders to foster collaboration with NGOs that support disability rights such as PAHO, to ensure human right protection for people with disability.
Mr Lartey suggested that people who take disability cases to court must not only be the victims but civil society organizations should assist by taking up such issues in court.
He said laws should be made for the provision of facilities to be accessible to people with disability and recommended that a special day should be set aside for the celebration of disability with participation from the Media.
Mr Andrew Okaikoi, Chairman of National Council on Persons with Disability, said the socio-cultural and superstitious beliefs had created stigma for disabled people.
He said government in 2009 established the Disability Council to access the rights of opportunities for marginalised and vulnerable groups.
“Disability is not an illness but a temporary or a permanent situation,’’ he added.
Mr Okaikoi said legislative instruments on disability rights had been completed and would be laid before Parliament soon.
A research report presented by PAHO indicated that although legislation provided equal rights for persons with disability, the reality was not clear due to lack of monitoring and enforcement.
It stated that the challenge for Ghana was to create awareness of their rights into everyday life and for the communities.
Te report said there had been slow implementation of the PWA Act, especially the lack of legislative instruments to implement the new law.
It said with regards to attitude towards disabled people, stereotypes and myths about people with disabilities were imbedded in the Ghanaian culture, and that disabilities were often considered as curses and punishments for sins committed either by people with disability, their parents and ancestors associated with witchcraft, sorcery and magic.
The report showed that there was severe gap in resources and facilities to cater for disabled women and that Ghana Federation of Disabled recognises the gender relations and inequalities of women participating less in disability movements.
However, it recommended government to increase education on disabled persons’ knowledge of their rights and expand focus of advocacy work to rural areas on sensitisation of persons with disability.