Ghana as a country has been urged to swiftly amend its Persons with Disability Law, Act 715, (2006) in order to promote and protect the rights of Persons with Disabilities( PWDs).
Ghana amending its Persons with Disability Law would also ensure it aligns with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
More so, further measures need to be taken to tackle the discrimination against persons with disabilities and promote their effective participation in society at all levels on an equal basis.
These salient recommendations were made by 11 countries during the Fourth Cycle of the Universal Peer Review (UPR) Process held in Geneva, Switzerland in January this year.
By the recommendations, Ghana was urged to address discrimination against persons with disabilities, including by ensuring implementation of the existing ban on shackling, and re-examine the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act to ensure coherence with the CRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Ghana was also tasked to redouble efforts to promote inclusive education for all and finalize measures to support children with severe forms of disabilities that impede their access to schools.
The Programmes Officer at the Ghana Federation of Disability (GFD) Organizations Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab, made this known during a media engagement held in Accra to throw more light on the UPR recommendations.
“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR was created through UN General Assembly resolution 60/251, on 15 March 2006 which established the Human Rights Council itself.
The Countries, including Mexico, Norway, Spain, Portugal Italy, Panama, Costa Rica Lithuania, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and New Zealand among other nations made recommendations to the effect that, Ghana must enhance the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities by amending the Persons with Disability Act of 2006 to fully align with the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities.
It is a State-driven process, conducted under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, and provides the opportunity for each State to report and declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries.
The reviews take place in the working group which has the same composition as the Human Rights Council. All 193 States were considered over a period of four years for each cycle.
Since the inception of the UPR, Ghana has been reviewed three times but there has not been a specific disability-related shadow report aside from the state report,” he explained.
According to him, Ghana was reviewed in 2008, 2012, and 2017, for 2008 and 2012, there was no recommendation on disability probably due to the absence of a disability-related shadow report.
In 2017, Divine Group International Foundation and Centre for Employment for Persons with Disabilities joined the UPR-CSOs Platform to submit a shadow report that raised concern on some human rights situations of persons with disabilities and resulted in Ghana receiving four recommendations about disability.
The four recommendations focused on amending Act 715, enforcement of section 60 of the Act, implementing an inclusive education policy, and adopting and implementing an employment equity policy.
As Ghana was set to be reviewed again in January 2023. The Ghana Federation of disability organizations joined the CSOs platform to submit a national human rights shadow report to the UPR secretariat which highlighted concerns of persons with disabilities.
It also submitted a disability-specific human rights shadow report to the human rights council to be considered alongside the national report.
This he said, the report will identify gaps in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and highlight priority areas where necessary.
However, Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab, therefore, underscored the need for continuous advocacy and engagement with relevant duty-bearers and partners for the adoption and subsequent implementation of the recommendations.
Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh