Government urged to ensure protection of rights of PWDs

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The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) has called on Government to ensure the protection of the rights of members to make them fit into society.

It said the wellbeing and rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) ‘‘did not tell a good story’’ with regards to the efforts made by the country to promulgate the Disability Act 715, of 2006.

Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, Chairman of the National Advocacy Committee of GFD made the call at a panel discussion to commemorate the passage of the Disability Act 715, 2006 and to assess its progress after the implementation of the Act.

The Act among other things provides for rights including unrestricted access to public places and buildings, free healthcare, employment, education and transportation.

Ghana signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 and ratified it in 2012 to become the 119th country in the world to do so and the 32nd in Africa.

The Chairman said it was expected that there would be positive changes with disability inclusiveness and improvement in the standard of living of PWDs with the passage of the Act.

However, there were challenges such as lack of disability friendly facilities in institutions and public spaces, which restricted the movements of PWDs

He attributed the phenomenon to many factors including a low political will on the part of Government, and the general public to ensure that PWDs accessed their rights as stipulated in the Act and other relevant international treaties that the country had ratified.

The Chairman noted that some members’ reluctance to ‘‘aggressively’’ demand their rights at the cost of rejection was an additional challenge, urging them to unite from the local to the national level and “aggressively” demand their rights in various ways.

He appealed to the Ghana Bar Association and other well-meaning lawyers in the country to support PWDs by providing pro-bono services at the courts.

Mr Williams called on the judiciary to give relevant judgment in accordance with law to strengthen PWDs.

He also asked the media to treat issues of disability as matters of rights and not charity.

Mr John Majisi Executive Director, Action for Inclusive Development, advised PWDs to be cautious of politicians who could take advantage of their vulnerability.

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