Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ghana to ratify United Nations Convention on the Persons with Disabilities

From The Ghanaian Times:

Cabinet has given approval for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Persons With Disability (PWD) to pave the way for the implementation of the National Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).

The ratification of the Convention will also allow its contents to be incorporated into the draft Legislative Instrument which aims to mainstream disability issues into national development.

The Chairman of the National Council for Persons With Disability, Mr. Andrew Okaikoi, disclosed this in Accra, yesterday, after PWD’s, members of Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and government institutions went on a walk through the principal streets of Accra.

The walk formed part of activities to mark the International Day of Persons With Disability which falls on the 3rd day of December, every year. .

The day was set aside by the United Nations to recognize the achievements, rights and struggles of PWDs and reward them for their roles in the socio-economic development of their countries.

Mr. Okaikoi said with the final passage of the Legislative Instrument, PWDs will be granted equal opportunities economically, socially and politically.

“With the passage, the deep-seated prejudices and the stereotyping of people with disability, to the extent they are seen as a curse and good for nothing people, will be minimized”, he emphasized.

Mr. Okaikoi said the law will grant them the right to challenge such stereotyping, prejudices and name-calling in court.

“Public instruments which do not make their buildings accessible to people living with disability will be sued through the enforcement of the law which stipulates that PWDs have access to public places.”

He assured PWDs that the National Council is working closely with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that two per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund reserved for them at the district level is released to them.

Mr. Okaikoi said there are indications that Government will even increase the percentage so that PWDs at the district level will improve their economic well-being.

He announced that the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has also decided to offer a second degree course in Disability Studies at the University.

The occasion was also used to unveil a banner from Partners in Action for the Rights of Persons with Disability which has signatures of the President, his Vice, members of the Cabinet and Members of Parliament.