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People with disabilities in Ghana excluded from UN forum

People with disabilities in Ghana would not attend the United Nations (UN) high level meeting on disabilities and development policies.

This, according Mr Yaw Ofori-Debrah, President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, is because government has failed to provide funds to support two representatives.

He told the Ghana News Agency in an interview at the weekend that government was unable to foot the cost of flight, accommodation and feeding of two people nominated by the Federation to attend the September 23 to 28 meeting.

The 68th UN session featuring representatives of governments and civil society organisations working in areas of disability concerns is expected to discuss disability and development policies.

“In Ghana, no representative from the Federation of the Disabled or National Council on Disabilities or any disability organisation versed in disability information and management will attend the meeting,” he said.

He said the situation was “embarrassing and disappointing,” particularly when the two persons nominated, had secured their visas.

“At least sponsoring one person would have consoled us…this is the first time we implore government to support us,” said Mr Ofori-Debrah.

He said in July 2013, a preparatory meeting for the high–level meeting was held in United States of America. While participating countries included Persons with Disabilities in their delegation, Ghana did not include similar categories of people in its delegation.

He said the disability movement submitted a list of proposed representatives to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection but three persons who were selected and assisted to secure visas were later on dropped on grounds that there was no money.

The High-level meeting of the General Assembly on disability and development will take place at the UN Headquarters on September 23, the day prior to the commencement of the General Debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly.

The theme of the meeting is: “The way forward: A disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.”

Governments are expected to adopt an Outcome Document created to support the aims of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.

“Regrettably, the disability movement in Ghana will miss the opportunity of learning from and contributing to the discussions on such topical themes,” said Mr Ofori-Debrah.

President John Dramani Mahama and Former President John Agyekum Kuffuor are expected to attend the session.

Source: GNA

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