Countries around the globe have made recommendations to the government of Ghana to amend its Persons with Disability Law, Act 715, (2006) in order to align with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The quest for Ghana to amend Act 715 was among the topmost recommendations made by 11 countries during the Fourth Cycle of the Universal Peer Review (UPR) Process held in Geneva, Switzerland in January this year.
The UPR is a unique process that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR was created through UN General Assembly resolution 60/251, on 15 March 2006 which established the Human Rights Council itself.
The Countries, including Mexico, Norway, Spain, Portugal Italy, Panama, Costa Rica Lithuania, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and New Zealand among other nations made recommendations to the effect that, Ghana must enhance the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities by amending the Persons with Disability Act of 2006 to fully align with the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities
The countries also requested the government of Ghana to address discrimination against persons with disabilities, “including by ensuring implementation of the existing ban on shackling, and re-examine the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act to ensure coherence with the CRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
During the review, Ghana received a total number of 298 recommendations from 111 counties. Of the 298 recommendations, 33 of them representing 11% were on disability and mental health.
Addressing the media in Accra to raise more awareness on the UPR recommendations, Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab, Programmes Officer at the Ghana Federation of Disability (GFD) Organizations, noted that as Ghana was set to be reviewed in January this year, the GFD joined the CSOs platform to submit a national human rights shadow report to the UPR secretariat which featured concerns of persons with disabilities.
GFD, according to him also submitted a disability-specific human rights shadow report to the human rights council to be considered alongside the national report, and that resulted in the number of recommendations Ghana received.
“We also have a number of recommendations to the Government of Ghana to implement inclusive education policy to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to quality education. There were a number of recommendations to the state on how to put measures in place to ensure that persons with psychosocial and mental health conditions are considered.”
Mr Abdul Wahab informed the gathered press that, “There were a number of recommendations to the state on how to put measures in place to ensure that persons with psychosocial and mental health conditions are taken into consideration in planning and development and also recommendations about inclusive health, where government receive recommendations to ensure that measures are put in place to ensure persons with disabilities have access to quality health care.
“More especially rolling out a programme targeting persons with disabilities access to sexual and reproductive health. We also receive a number of recommendations asking the Government of Ghana to put affirmative measures in place to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to employment. There were also recommendations about the government putting measures in place to ensure that there is disaggregated data on persons with disabilities for effective planning. Again, Ghana received recommendations to roll out social protection programs and policies to target persons with disabilities.”
The UPR is a State-driven process, conducted under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, and provides the opportunity for each State to report and declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries. The reviews take place in the working group with the same composition as the Human Rights Council. All 193 States were considered over a period of four years for each cycle. Since the inception of the UPR, Ghana has been reviewed three times but there has not been a specific disability-related shadow report aside from the state report. Ghana was reviewed in 2008, 2012, and 2017, for 2008 and 2012, there was no recommendation on disability probably due to the absence of a disability-related shadow report. In 2017, Divine Group International Foundation and Centre for Employment for Persons with Disabilities joined the UPR-CSOs Platform to submit a shadow report that raised concern on some human rights situations of persons with disabilities and resulted in Ghana receiving four recommendations about disability.
By: Mohammed Suleman/ publicagendagh.com