Laws not adequately protecting PWDs – Lawyer
The laws of Ghana are not adequately addressing specific needs of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), exposing them to potentially more vulnerable situation, said Ms Pauline Ayiku, Legal Practitioner and Volunteer at MindFreedom Ghana.
She has, consequently, called on stakeholders to pool ideas to identify and offer solutions to the weaknesses or gaps in the legal system in order to give adequate protection to PWDs to guarantee their total inclusion in economic, social and political life.
Ms Ayiku, who also works with Saith Chambers, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Monday to highlight the weaknesses found in Ghana’s PWDs’ act passed in 2006.
The Act seeks to address inherent challenges facing PWDs to ensure they fully participate, on equal basis, in social, economic, cultural, and creative activities.
But, Ms Ayiku said certain provisions in the constitution are “too blanket” while those in the PWDs’ Act are inconsistent with the United Nations Conventions on Rights to Persons with Disabilities, which inhibit full participation.
She said, for example, the right to political participation mentioned in the 1992 constitution is ‘too blanket’ and does not give PWDs the “right to vote and stand for election.”
“Discrimination against PWDs is not mentioned anywhere in our laws, what is there provides general discrimination at the neglect of PWDs,” she said.
In situations of humanitarian emergency, Ms Ayiku said only children and women are mentioned, but children and women with disabilities are completely not discussed while PWDs in general are not mentioned.
She expressed regret that, currently, certificates and other vital documents of PWDs are written in languages they do not understand.
Ms Ayiku, who said the situation is even more crucial during preliminary and administrative proceedings of the law courts, suggested language and communication of PWDs should be taught at the fundamental stages of education to ensure full integration, inclusiveness and participation in all activities.