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NCPD establishes legal, case management unit

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Social Ncpd Unit
Social Ncpd Unit

The National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) has established a Legal and Case Management Unit to receive and refer complaints from people with disabilities to appropriate institutions for resolution.

The unit will also work to guarantee individuals with disabilities have access to justice in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in fulfilment of Agenda 2030, Ghana’s commitment under the 2018 and 2022 commitments.

Ms. Esther Gyamfi, Executive Secretary of the NCPD, announced this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a three-day capacity building workshop for disability inclusion actors and officers of the new unit on the promotion of rule of law and judiciary.

She said the unit would serve as a focal point for receiving and storing relevant information on inquiries about fundamental human rights and referring them to appropriate authorities for remedy.

As a result, she said a legal and case management manual has been produced to provide clear criteria for effective and efficient operations as well as prescribe a unique system of systematic case management.

She added that the unit was created in response to many complaints received by the council from 2019 to 2021, totaling 587 cases, of which only 18 were addressed.

Ms. Gyamfi stated that people with disabilities faced several obstacles, notably in obtaining justice, and blamed this partly on their limited understanding of criminal matters.

“You know, when you take a criminal case, stealing, abuse, and all that, for them to even categorise what is happening is an issue,” she said. “And there’s also accessibility problem; these agencies that address these matters may not have sign language interpreters, or their places may not be physically accessible.”

She noted that the unit would assist people with disabilities in gaining access to justice by referring cases to the appropriate state agencies.

Mr. Yaw Ofori-Debra, Chairman of the NCPD Governing Board, said that the council was committed to protecting the rights of people with disabilities, stating that many had been denied access to justice over the years.
“So, we created a unit within the council to ensure that people with disabilities have easier access to justice,” he said. “Those personnel who would ensure that institutions working for justice are capable of delivering justice.”

He added that personnel of the unit were being trained to assist in dealing with those institutions required to handle such matters, and that once the staff were given the expertise to document the complaints, the NCPD would make the appropriate recommendations for their consideration.

The German Development Cooperation, GIZ, is assisting the NCPD organise the training necessary for the council’s staff to discharge their roles for effective service delivery.

Mrs. Lydia Yamoah Hagan, Technical Advisor, GIZ, explained that the partnership on the rule of law project with NCPD aimed to support efforts by the council to roll out the training programme, which is funded by the German federal government.
The project operates in four African countries: Tanzania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana, with the main goal of providing vulnerable and small-scale businesses with easy access to legal assistance for vulnerable groups.

She noted that participants would be strengthened with relevant knowledge to provide paralegal services to help ease the pressure on courts, saying, “We hope that at the end of this training, you will be better equipped with the knowledge and abilities you need to help manage more cases.”

Mrs. Amanorbea Dodoo, Senior Programmes Officer, NCPD, highlighted the importance of having guidelines for dealing with concerns of PWDs, saying that “when it comes to disability, it’s difficult for people to understand their situation.”

She said the training would enable NCPD staff to resolve difficulties individuals with disabilities faced, adding, “On legal terms, we are not lawyers, so we need to understand the law and how the law works so that we can help people with disabilities handle their concerns.”

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