The Government of Ghana has ratified the United Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and Optional Protocol.
The convention which is an international human rights instrument of the UN intends to promote, protect and ensure equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of PWDs.
It was adopted on 13 December 2006 during the sixty-first session of the General Assembly by resolution A/RES/61/106 and has 153 signatories and 110 parties, including the European Union which 'concluded' the treaty (in effect, ratified it to the extent responsibilities of the member states were transferred to the European Union) on 23 December 2010.
The ratification signifies a landmark step forward to improving the welfare and human rights of PWDs and it is expected to give greater impetus and support for the implementation of the National Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).
It represents a new dawn for commitment to developing and implementing policies, laws and administrative measures for securing the rights recognised in the Convention and abolish laws, regulations, customs and practices that contravene these rights.
Moving the motion in Parliament yesterday for the adoption of the report of the committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the Convention, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sege, Alfred Abayateye, said the committee noted that ratification of the Convention "will focus on empowering PWDs to participate in and contribute to all aspects of society and at all stage of life, on an equal basis with others."
He said the ratification will add up to Ghana's strong role as a human rights defender in the UN and accelerate the attainment of the basic fundamental human rights of PWDs.
According to him it may yield sustainable economic benefits to the country and PWDs by creating an enabling environment to seek and access financial and technical support from the international community.
In a contribution to the motion, MP for Afigya-Sekyere West, Albert Kan-Dapaah, called for special provision to be made in the national budget for persons with disability and urged government to support the schools for the blind.
The MP for Ashaiman, Alfred Kwame Agbesi also called for the redesigning of Parliament to make it disability friendly.
Hackman Owusu- Agyemang, MP for New Juaben North, called on government as a matter of urgency to bring the appropriate legislative instrument to parliament to give effect to the provisions in the Act.
Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaen questioned whether district assemblies are complying with the two per cent allocation of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund earmarked for persons with disabilities
Other members who contributed to the motion also called for extensive education for the general public on PWDs to ensure a smooth and effective operation of the law.
The convention was laid in Parliament on July 20 2011 by the then Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Enoch Teye Mensah in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and was referred to the committee for consideration.
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)