The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN), Mr Charles Abani, has urged the government to expedite the actions towards the passage of the amended Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Act, Act 175 to ensure inclusivity.
The act raises impact on rights to accessibility, education, transportation, and health care for Persons with Disabilities and the establishment and functions of the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD).
According to him, Ghana could achieve disability inclusion when a consistent and systematic approach was implemented in all areas of work.
Mr Abani made the remarks at a disability forum organised by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) in collaboration with the UN Ghana and Sightsavers in Accra yesterday.
The forum was in commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disability which is celebrated on December 3, each year.
It also highlighted the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDGs) in Ghana which will promote an accessible and equitable world for all persons with disabilities.
Additionally, the forum also emphasised on the SDG Goal 10.2 which discussed the empowerment and promotion of economic, social and political inclusion of all irrespective of their age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, and origin, economic or other status.
Mr Abani explained that Ghana faced some challenges such as lack of will to ensure the implementation of disability laws to ensure a safe space for persons with disabilities to thrive.
However, he noted that the UN was working in line with government towards the passage of a new disability bill to provide inclusivity of persons with disabilities.
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has urged all citizens and stakeholders to raise awareness on disability issues and foster effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Mr Abani indicated that 1.3 billion persons worldwide are affected with disabilities in Ghana, adding “a single broom can easily break but multiple strands cannot be broken easily. Together, we can achieve more for persons with disabilities and the SDGs.”
He stated that the UN had a framework known as United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) which provided the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through three (3) strategic pillars – inclusive economic transformation, access to quality basic services and durable peace.
Mr Abani further urged the Civil Society Organisations and traditional authorities to strengthen and appreciate the role PWD played in the socio-economic development of the country.
The National President of GFD, Mr Joseph Odoom, appealed to the government to realign the PWD Act in order to be in line with the UN Conventions.
He also underscored the need for the government to strengthen polices to address issues concerning PWD and to open doors of employment in order for such persons to earn that respect to achieve something on their own.
According to the Senior Programme Manager at Sightsavers, Mr David Agyeman, persons with disabilities had to be confident in themselves and must be encouraged by their parents to take roles
BY AGNES OWUSU