The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection(MGCSP) has constituted a technical committee to examine whether or not some portions of the existing Ghana disability Act (715,2006) should be amended.
The MGCSP “has constituted a Technical Committee to examine the Ghana Disability Act (715, 2006) Vis -a –vis the UNCRPD to identify the gaps and then determine whether a new Ghana Disability Act is required or certain portions of the existing Act should be amended.”
These were contained in a response to Public Agenda, when the Paper wrote to the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection seeking information on the status of the proposed amendment to the Ghana disability Act which was submitted to the ministry by the Ghana Federation of Disability organizations last year.
There are several calls by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) and other disability right organizations to amend the current Ghana disability law in order to make it compliant with the United Nation Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD).
Acting Executive-Secretary, National Council for Persons with Disability(NCPD Mr Kwamena Dadzie who responded to Public Agenda’s questions on behalf of the Minister explained that, the committee would also draft a Memorandum for the amendment of the Ghana Disability Act (715, 2006) to be submitted to Cabinet to seek authorization for the amendment.
Mr Dadzie added, “In doing this, the Committee would also examine inputs from stakeholders. For example, the draft proposals for the review of the Ghana Disability Act (ACT 715, 2006) submitted by the GFD.The Committee would be holding series of meetings to perform the above task.”
Ghana passed its Disability Act (715, 2006) and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2012. As a State Party to the UNCRPD, Ghana is required to domesticate the UNCRPD, hence the amendment of the Ghana Disability Act 715, 2006.
The goal of the UNCPRD is to significantly redress the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries.
The ratification of the Convention meant that Ghana has to amend its Disability law to make it compatible with the UNCRPD.
Mr Dadzie pointed out that, “as State Party to the UNCRPD, Ghana is required to domesticate the UNCRPD, hence the amendment of the Ghana Disability Act (715, 2006). The MGCSP thus see the need to amend the Ghana Disability Act (715, 2006).”
He acknowledged that in 2017, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection received draft proposals for the review of the Ghana Disability Act (ACT 715, 2006) from the GFD, but the proposal has not been submitted to cabinet yet.
According to him, “several discussions and consultations have been held with state and non-state-actors (Disabled People’s Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and Persons with disabilities to get their inputs for the amendment.”
He added that the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) has collaborated with the Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and other stakeholders to develop draft guidelines on the use of appropriate and accessible forms of communication including different language, displays of text, Braille, tactile communications, large print, accessible multimedia, use of sign language interpreters and so on. When finalized, institutions (both public and private) would be required to provide accessible information and services in line with the guidelines.
He said one of the strategies to properly address the challenges that Persons with disabilities face is to make disability issues an integral part of the day-to-day activities of all institutions. In line with this intention, the framework and strategies on Disability Mainstreaming in Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been developed and would soon be launched.
By Mohammed Suleman