A statement signed by Francis Asong, Director, to mark the Day last Thursday said individuals or corporate institutions working in the interest of PWDs feel exasperated by the continuing dejection, rejection and exclusion being suffered by PWDs in the country.
The statement which put population of PWDs in the country at around five million, cried out that, 10 years after the passage of the Persons with Disability Act (2006) (Act 715), their situation still remained a blemish in the country as a result of national inaction and non-commitment.
“This (the Act) was seen as a landmark piece of legislation that would bring fundamental change for individuals with a disability.
“Nearly ten years on, Voice Ghana asks whether the 2006 (ACT 715) Act really was a watershed for people with a disability……” it added.
The statement said “in Ghana, People with disabilities face severe social stigma, creating a culture of entrenched discrimination”.
“Ostracized from society, many live under the misguided belief that their lives are not worthy of respect.
“This should not be the case in a country that nearly 10 years ago passed a law designed to address this inequality,” it stated.
The statement also expressed concern that “despite repeated calls from civil society to formulate a comprehensive disability policy in Ghana, no such framework exists,” stressing that there could be no excuses for this.
It was of the view that the 12-point Disability Act was being implemented too lackadaisically.
“The Act provided for the establishment of the National Council on Persons with Disability to formulate policies and strategies for broad implementation.
“However, following the Persons with a Disability Act, 2006, it took three years for the government to establish the Council and almost five years for guidelines for the disbursement and management of the now three per cent share of the District Assembly Common Fund assigned to persons with disabilities to be produced,” the VOICE-Ghana stated.
It said Ghana, rectifying in 2012, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as the 119th country in the world, was thought to be an important step, along with Ghana’s own laws, to ensure that the five million Ghanaians with disabilities, were treated as equal citizens, but that was not the situation.
The statement lamented that even now, many public buildings were not disability friendly, PWDs travelling with wheelchairs were often charged double fares or even refused places on the buses and the many and varied discriminations suffered by PWDs during searches for jobs and as employees.