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Expedite actions to fully protect the rights of persons with disabilities- Gov’t Told

As a matter of urgency, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has called on the government to expedite actions to fully protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities in the country.

Stressing that, the government needs to pay attention to them, as the process of re-enacting Ghana’s Persons with Disability Act has been delayed for over ten years.

The National President of the Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) Mawunyo Yakor –Dagban who addressed the media at a press conference in Accra stated that Act 715 was passed by the Parliament of Ghana on June 23, 2006, and received the assent of the President of Ghana on 9th August 2006.

She said, in March 2007, Ghana also signed the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and subsequently ratified it in August 2012 as an international treaty seeking to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

Explaining that, CRPD in Article 4(1) (b) enjoins Ghana as a State Party to “take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, custom and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities”.

According to her, the GFD which is made up of organisations of persons with disabilities, in  2013, conducted a gap analysis of Act 715 in comparison with the CRPD and submitted proposals and recommendations to the government of Ghana for consideration and appropriate action.

Persons With Disabilities
Persons With Disabilities

“ In view of the identified inadequacies of Act 715, the government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection agreed to review  Ghana’s Act 715 to be in consonance with the CRPD owing to the inadequacies or deficiencies that included the absence of clear provisions with disabilities, including children, women, aged, and other persons in lesser –known impairment categories in Ghana.

For the above reason, in April 2018, the government inaugurated a committee for the purpose of reviewing Ghana’s domestic legislation and dealing with a possible amendment to the existing laws to enable it to comply in spirit and letter with the provisions of the CRPD.

Though this committee did not do anything substantial, another technical committee was inaugurated in November 2019, to carry out the task.

After what we consider to be an unnecessary laborious and unduly lengthy process developed and facilitated by the  National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and the ministry responsible, an amendment bill was drafted in that regard.

However, the Technical Committee submitted its report after a series of activities to the Ministry in September 2020.

It is with great joy the GFD  sometime last month received information that the attorney  General had gone ahead to do the legal drafting of the bill and requested some further clarification from the team that did the work,”  she elaborated.

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Considering how slow the initial phase of the work went, and how the ministry responsible has to date not shown any serious commitment towards accomplishing the task given, by recalling the Technical  Committee that did the work to commence the necessary actions,  we are filled with trepidation that the task is not being given the needed attention.

“We are calling on the state through the sector Ministry of  Gender Children and Social Protection and the NCPD  to as soon possible to take appropriate actions for ensuring that the responses to the comments from the Attorney  General’s Department are dealt with speedily and effectively for the Act 715  amendment process to as soon as practicable get to parliament before the end of the year.

The disability movement will not countenance any delays whatsoever so far as the process of amendment is concerned as a simple review and subsequent amendment of Act 715 has taken over ten years to get to this point,” they demanded.

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