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Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations petitions President

Disability organisationThe Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), has petitioned President John Dramani Mahama about flaws in the Disability Act 2006 (Act 715).

According to the Federation, the Act, which had been in existence for 10 years, is full of missing links as compared with the provisions on the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) that was ratified by Ghana on July 31, 2012.

Mr Yaw Debrah, the President of the GFD, who presented the petition through Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection on behalf of the GFD, said the Act failed in many ways to represent a strong and robust framework for the realisation of the rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ghana.

He mentioned lack of strong statement on the human rights of Persons with Disabilities, insufficient protection of the right to equality and non-discrimination, lack of specific for women with disabilities, insufficient provisions relating to the right to health, amongst others.

Mr Debrah said as a matter of concern the GFD had produced and submitted a gap analysis report to the Government, through the Ministry of Gender, children and Social Protection, as its contribution to fast-track the review process of the Act.

The petition among others demanded President Mahama to ensure that the Act entrenches and crystallises in the legal framework, through the enactment of Legislative Instruments to operationalise it.

The process of enacting Legislative Instruments to operationalise the Act is stayed until such time as the Principal Act is comprehensively amended to ensure that it relates to the rights of Persons with Disabilities in Ghana is one that contains the highest standard of such protection, and in particular, is consistent with the UNCRPD.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection reiterated government’s commitment to create an enabling environment for Persons with Disability.

She said Government is committed to review and subsequently amend the Disability Act and this was reinforced at a Council Meeting about two weeks ago.

She said: “At that meeting stakeholders and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities arrived at a consensus that the Legislative making process is a long process but together with the Federation and stakeholders we have identified certain aspect of the Act, which can be implemented using a Legislative Instrument which are simpler and quicker to operationalise and create the framework for implementing those sections.

“So we agree with the GFD that the law has to be amended but because of the procedure and time and considering priority and urgency, we have to start with the Legislative Instrument so that we have a legal instrument that we can use to implement the Act and then at the same time the amendment processes can go on.”

She said PWDs issues have been mainstreamed in the National Social Protection strategy and poverty reduction interventions.

Nana Oye Lithur observed that that there has been an increment in the District Assembly Common Fund for Persons with Disability from two per cent to three per cent and allocations for the first and second quarters have been sent to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

She explained that the National Council on Persons with Disability is currently working with the Ghana Standards Authority and the Disabled People Organisations to develop the Ghana Standards on Accessibility Designs.

She said the document, which is currently in draft, provides specifications, on how buildings, roads, recreational centres should be designed so as to make them accessible to all especially Persons with Disability.

The Minister said more than 3000 Persons with Disability have been registered on the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He said they are also the key target of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme where as more than 52,082 are benefiting.

She said Government had developed a Disability Employment Modules under the Youth Employment Agency and currently the agency employs more than 2000 of Persons With Disability

Source: GNA

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