Representatives from the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and 25 other disabled persons organizations met in Accra on Wednesday to consider proposals for amending the country’s Persons With Disability (PWDs) law.
The meeting opened opportunity for stakeholders to deliberate on the Persons With Disability Act of 2006 (Act 715) to help domesticate the rights outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The federation derived financial and technical support from the Disability Right Fund, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), the BUSAC Fund as well as its coalition partners, MindFreedom Ghana, and Law and Development Associates.
The broader Ghana disability community, have worked hard on developing an Amendment Bill to better protect, promote and fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities, DRF Programmes Officer for Africa (Ghana and Uganda), Mr Medi Ssengooba said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency.
In 2012, Ghana became the 119th country in the world to ratify the CRPD and its Optional Protocol.
“Ratification was an important first step to ensuring that the five million Ghanaians with disabilities will be treated as equal citizens, with equal rights,” Mr Ssengooba said.
“Ghana now needs to adapt its laws and practices to allow the promises of the convention to become reality for people with disabilities,” he added.
According to Human Rights Watch, 20 per cent of the total population in Ghana has a disability.
“This is an exciting event,” says DRF Founding Executive Director, Diana Samarasan, adding, “DPOs, led by the coalition headed by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, and Ghana government stakeholders should be commended for coming together to determine ways in which the spirit and principles of the CRPD can be domesticated in Ghana.”
DRF is certain that the meetings will establish important groundwork towards an amended Act that improves rights implementation for all persons with disabilities in Ghana and upholds the democratic process for persons with disabilities.
She expressed appreciation over efforts by the coalition headed by GFD which led consultations with the wider disability movement on the amendment Bill.
The DRF and DRAF are supported by the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the American Jewish World Service, the Leir Charitable Foundations, the Open Society Foundations, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.