December 6, 2015

Parliament on Thursday indicated a strong move to ensure that public and other entities complied to provide structures and other disability friendly facilities as a10-year moratorium in the Disability Act gets to a close.

“We have visited most public buildings and other public places, and we observe that very little had been done with the provisions in the law,” the House was told in a contribution to a statement.

The statement by Mr Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin, was to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on December 3, on the theme “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.

The Day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.

Mr Joseph Amenowode, Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, who was making the contribution, noted that the new Job 600 Building has access for the disabled.

He said a visit to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, indicated that the hospital was aware of the provisions in the Disability Act, but provision is yet to be made for the facilities.

Mr Amenowode, who is also the MP for Afadjato South in the Volta Region, emphasised the need for more education on the Disability Act before the end of the moratorium.

Governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector are encouraged to partner with organizations of persons with disabilities to arrange events and activities to commemorate the Day.

The estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation. The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies, active citizenship and reduce inequalities in society.

By promoting empowerment, real opportunities for people are created. This enhances their own capacities and supports them in setting their own priorities. Empowerment involves investing in people – in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection. When people are empowered they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can more readily embrace their civic responsibilities.