The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has asked the Government to implement Act 715, which guarantees and safeguards the rights of Persons Living with Disability (PwDs).
In a statement to mark World Disability Day, which falls on December 3, 2015, under the theme: “Inclusion matters: Access and Empowerment for People of all Abilities”, the CDD said: “It is noteworthy to mention that Ghana government has made some good strides towards social and total inclusion of PwDs with the passage of the disability law (Act 715).”
“In spite of the noble provisions in the Act such as making all public buildings accessible to PwDs and the provision of free specialists and general health care for PwDs, no serious steps have been made by government and all stakeholders towards monitoring compliance.
“As we celebrate this occasion under this important theme, it is imperative for us as a nation and more particularly the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Parliament, Department of Social Welfare among others to reflect on “why government and government agencies refuse to implement and comply with the provisions of Act 715 after 9 years of passage of the Act,” the CDD asked.
The law speaks about a raft of rights of PwDs covering life and social activities, differential treatment in respect of residence, living conditions in specialised establishments, exploitation of and discrimination against a person with disability, right to judicial proceedings, access to public places, access to public services, penalty for contravention, right to health services among others.
The Centre said: “It is regrettable that the 10-year moratorium contained in the Act, which was intended to allow time for the country to comply with the provisions in the Act, rather appears to have caused the Act to be relegated to the bottom of the government’s priority list. This is problematic because the lack of government action to enforce the provisions of Act 715 and the UNCRPD amounts to total disregard or abuse of the very fundamental human rights of PwDs which the law was promulgated to protect.”
As a nation, CDD wondered, “for how long are we going to allow people with so many potentials who could contribute to their society’s progress through their dynamism, their creativity, and their intelligence not able to do so because they have been excluded whether deliberately or otherwise?”
“This is unacceptable for a country that prides itself with huge democratic credentials.
CDD-Ghana therefore calls on all stakeholders to call for total compliance of Act 715 and the UNCRPD, strengthen development policies and practices to ensure that accessibility is part of inclusive society and that way we ensured that PwDs are empowered to create and use opportunities to better themselves.