Mr Alhassan Iddrissu, a Lawyer and Legal Advocate at the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), a Non-Profit Organisation, has called for the elimination of all discriminatory cultures towards people.
He said discrimination infringed on the rights of people and impeded the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that provided that inclusion, inclusive development and growth were ensured.
Mr Iddrissu made the call during CEPIL’s engagement with the Ghana Blind Union in Accra to sensitise members on Human Rights and the presentation of the Human Rights Manual for Human Rights Defenders in the braille format to the Union.
The Manual provides practical guide on prevention and mitigation measures when faced with situation of risk, which includes the legal and constitutional safeguards, provision of fallback mechanisms and relevant support systems to create an enabling environment to respect, protect and promote the rights of Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society Orgainsations’ Advocates.
The Legal Advocate said the SDGs also provided that discrimination must be avoided especially against women, children and Persons With Disabilities.
He said Ghanaians were mainly traditional and followed traditional practices and customs, some of whom had worked effectively for them but there were others that needed to be abolished.
‘‘In this particular instance, we know of certain cultures where a Chief is not allowed to meet a blind person, because they see it as against their traditional practice. A person is blind not by choice, it is a question of God, and he did nothing wrong to be blind. So that person should not be discriminated in any way,’’ he stated.
Mr Iddrissu noted that in some Muslim communities, a blind person cannot be an Imam and in other cultures, one could not become a Chief.
‘‘So that is why I ask a question, what happens when a Chief who was at the time of rising to the throne was not disabled, but gets disabled on the throne?’’
The Lawyer noted that society had created many obstacles for Persons With Disabilities in the access of education, health and other essential services to the extent that many health professionals were not adequately trained on how to handle them.
‘‘With the ongoing efforts to amend the Disability Act, we will consider some of these to ensure that we have a law that works well for us that avoids discrimination and considers the specific needs of persons with disability because they are part of the society,’’ Mr Iddrissu added.
The Legal Advocate advised that there must be continous sensitisation and legislation to change the narrative because no one was immune to disability, which could happen unexpectedly.
The Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) founded in 1999 is a Non- Profit Organisation, which provides pro-bono services to the poor and margainalised and vulnerable in society . It also promotes human rights.