December 4, 2013

Parliament on Tuesday expressed disquiet on the continued observance of customary norms and practices that are inimical to the inclusion of persons with disability in society despite the passage of the Persons with Disability Act (Act 715).

The legislators said it was time that society breached the physical, socio-cultural, attitudinal and economic impediments that hindered the inclusion of people with disability in national developmental.

The lawmakers made the call when contributing to statements made on the floor of Parliament to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

They held that society should be guided by the principle and conviction that the quality of life for people with disabilities will flow from useful collaborations with them, and urged a closer interface to guarantee meaningful opportunities that promote independence and self-sufficiency for them (People with Disabilities) .

Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin said Ghana’s reputation for respecting citizen’s human rights was being tested for want of comprehensive policy structure to shore up the contributions of persons with disability in development process.

He noted that most public institutions and installations were bereft of facilities to ease access by people with disabilities, adding that the consequence of the Persons with Disability Act that was passed in 2006 was yet to be effectively felt.

Mr Osei urged community leaders to connect with people with disabilities, gain knowledge of their abilities and reservations in order to mainstream their activities in Ghana’s growth quest.

He mentioned the Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa who, despite his disability, had shown that there was no glass ceiling for people with disability given the opportunity, urging stakeholders to shed every bias and create the enabling conditions and opportunities for the fruitful integration of people with disability in society.

Mr John Majisi, MP for Krachi Nchumuru also observed that in spite of interventions to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, there was still a vast disparity between people with and without disabilities.

He said majority of people with disabilities still faced various forms of discrimination and was more likely to live in poverty because they were unable to assert their rights.

“It is noted that there are still barriers and lack of opportunities to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the mainstream society”, he observed.

Mr Majisi called for a national forum to draw a plan for the full implementation of the National Disability Law, 2006, (Act 715), urging colleague MP’s to serve as conduits for the propagation of the Disability Act by including disability related agenda’s in their development initiatives.

He also suggested the capitalization of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled to strengthen it\’s organisational and institutional culture.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls on December 3, every year aimed at promoting an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

It also seeks to create awareness of gains to be derived from integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Ghana’s Disability Law, 2006 (Act 715) was passed in 2006 aimed at ending the discrimination that faces people with disabilities. But till date, most of the provisions of the Act have not been met.