The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) have called on the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Otiko Afisa Djaba, to activate the process for a review of the Affirmative Action Bill, which according them, did not take care of the needs and interests of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and also did not provide space for the inclusion of all marginalised groups in the country’s development process.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Friday, the acting Advocacy Officer of GFD, Mr Joshua Makubu, said any attempt to leave PWDs out of the country’s affirmative action would amount to depriving them of their rights.
“We know that the gender minister is a mother and listens to the plight of the vulnerable population but in the unlikely event that she fails to respond to our call, we will engage with Cabinet and Parliament when the need arises.
“If all this systems fail, then PWDs will not feel safe to live in a country where the laws do not protect them,” he stressed.
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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15 per cent of the world population constitute persons with disabilities.
With Ghana’s Population estimated at 28 million, it means that 4.2 million people suffer from one form of disability or the other.
Making reference to this figure, Mr Makubu said failure to review the current Affirmative Action Bill would mean that issues affecting PWDs would not be incorporated into the national development agenda.
A disability rights lawyer, Ms Esther Akua Gyamfi, said the Affirmative Action Bill, in its current form, would not give real meaning to the United Nation (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that sought to ensure that no one was left behind in governance and development.
She cited portions of the 1992 constitution and other international conventions and laws to support the call for a review of the Act.
Last week, some stakeholders concerned with disability issues advocated a review of the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill, 2016 to incorporate disability issues into the national development process.
The advocates contended that the bill, in its current state, failed to make provisions for the inclusion of PWDs into the national development agenda, a situation they described as ‘discriminatory and inimical to efforts to ensure an inclusive governance.’
Some of the advocates include the President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, and a disability rights lawyer, Ms Esther Akua Gyamfi.
They further asked that the GFD be consulted and represented on the committee working on the bill at every stage of the law-making process.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on Friday, they further called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to intervene to ensure that the concerns of PWDs were incorporated into the bill before it was laid before Parliament for passage.