The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations has petitioned the Government over what it described as reluctance in the speedy processing of the amendment of the Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715).
In the petition presented to the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the National Council on Persons with Disability, the Federation is demanding that Government attaches urgency to the amendment process for the full enjoyment of the rights and privileges of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
In 2006, the Parliament of Ghana enacted the Persons with Disability Act 715, to protect and promote the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in the Country.
Subsequently, in 2007, the Government of Ghana signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional protocols, and Parliament ratified it in 2012.
The disability movement led by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has worked closely with government, by supporting with a presentation of justification for the review of Ghana’s Disability Act to be compliant with the CRPD. In that regard, a report of an analysis of the gaps in Ghana’s Disability Act was presented to Government in 2013.
Key gaps identified in the Act include the narrow definition of disability, absence of the rights and protection of women, girls and children with disabilities, lack of promotion of comprehensive inclusive education, lack of promotion of political inclusion, participation and representation of persons with disabilities.
In keeping with what the GFD has always done on policies and legislation concerning persons with disabilities, with support from its partners, it conducted a nationwide consultative exercise spanning over 4 years. This resulted in a proposed draft amendment document with its accompanying Legislative Instrument, presented to Government in 2016.
In spite of that, the government set aside the work of the Federation and persons with disabilities to start a completely new process that they only sort to replicate what persons with disabilities had agreed on.
Currently, a draft proposal for amendment of Act 715 with its accompanying Legislative Instrument has been submitted to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for onward presentation to the Attorney Generals Department.
In view of the above, the Federation is demanding that government expresses the stronger political will and commitment towards the process of amendment of the Disability Act by prioritizing it as one of the first legislation to be sent to the 8th Parliament for amendment, Government should ensure that all financial obligations for the successful execution of the commitment to amend the law is met on time, That the National Council on Persons with Disabilities together with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, publish a clear road-map on the amendment process and a formal written response to their petition by Monday 15th March 2021.
At a press conference in Accra today Friday, February 19, 2021, the President of the federation, Mrs. Mawunyo Yakor-Dagbah said, “persons with disabilities form an integral component of the Ghanaian resource build-up and are entitled to all rights specified in the 1992 constitution as well as all other international Treaties, Conventions, and Agreements that Ghana has ratified under Article 75(B) of the 1992 Constitution. We, therefore, demand that the Act is amended accordingly for the enjoyment of our full rights and privileges as established by Law.”
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations is made of the Ghana Blinds Union, Ghana Society of the Physically Challenged, Ghana Stammerers Associations, Ghana Burns Survival Union, and Ghana National Association of the Deaf.
The others are the Mental Health Society of Ghana, Ghana Association Person with Albinism, and ShareCare Ghana.
Credit: Benjamin Nii-Lartey Ayiku