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Participants at the stakeholders workshop

Make Sign Language an official language in Ghana -GFD

The Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) has intensified its calls for the government to consider making sign language an official language in the country.

This proposal, the organization argues, could be achievable if sign language is incorporated into the country’s core educational curriculum from basic up to the tertiary levels.

“We believe that sign language could be made an official language in this country if it is made mandatory and taught in our basic schools right up to the tertiary level,” stated Mr. Adam Abdul Wahab, Programmes Officer at the GFD.

Mr Abdul Wahab made these pronouncements while addressing stakeholders on the disability front on the Shadow Report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the   Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  

Ghana ratified the UNCRPD in 2012 and submitted the state report to the  UN  committee of experts on the convention to highlight the challenges that are involved in realizing the rights of Persons with disabilities and organizations of persons with Disabilities.

Speaking to Public Agenda after the stakeholder engagement in  Accra  On Friday, March 31, 2023, Mr  Wahab, indicated that the  GFD  submitted a shadow report to highlight the critical issues and the main concerns of Persons with Disabilities and give the real situation and human rights of  Person with Disabilities in Ghana.

He added, “The report we submitted highlights access to justice, Political participation of  PWDs right to life of Persons with Disabilities, right to Education and health, and access to employment and opportunities for persons with disabilities as well as awareness raising and general accessibility issues.

 He spelled out that before the shadow report was submitted, GFD  had an engagement with government institutions particularly, the Ministry of  Gender Children and  Social Protection, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice( CHRAJ) National Council of  Persons with Disability, the Ministry of  Foreign affairs, Ministry of Justice and  Attorney General  Department and the  Ministry of  Local  Government because we are also looking at the issue at the local level.

Mr  Wahab noted that in  Ghana, PWDs still face discrimination and stigma which is one of the major barriers excluding persons with disability from effectively participating in society at all levels.

He posited that because of limited awareness or lack of knowledge and understanding about disability in Ghana, there is a need for government to support  Civil society organizations including GFD  and the media to be able to raise adequate awareness on issues about Disability.

He emphasized that “there should be a program rolled out by the government to make a budgetary allocation to support the media or partner with the media to raise awareness on issues about disabilities. The purpose of this will be to break the stigma and also minimize the discrimination society metes out against persons with disabilities. This will help us achieve the inclusive development agenda.”

 Participants were impressed with the content of the shadow report as presented and wished that it would be adopted and effectively implemented to the benefit of the disability community.  

By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagendagh.com

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