The National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) Thursday called for the amendment of the Disability Act 715, 2006, to give full protection to the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
It its present state, the NCPD said, the Act did not offer the adequate social protection for PWDs because their rights are not fully recognized.
Madam Emma Lilian Bruce-Lyle, a Board member of NCPD made the call at a forum to commemorate the National Day of Disability and the passage of the Disability Act 715, 2006, in Accra.
She pointed out that even after the passage of the Act, the barriers and challenges encountered by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) still existed.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) disability is any restriction or lack of ability in the sense of physical deformity to perform an activity within the range considered normal for every human being.
The Persons with Disability Act 715 was passed by Parliament in June 2006 to protect the rights of PWDs.
The Act among other things provides for rights including unrestricted access to public places and buildings, free healthcare, employment, education and transportation.
Ghana signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 and ratified it in 2012 to become the 119th country in the world to do so and the 32nd in Africa.
Madam Bruce-Lyle said institutions and public places did not have disability friendly facilities including walkways.
She said the movement of PWDs was restricted because many buildings were not constructed with them in mind.
The NCPD Board Member was not happy that most staircases were not Disability friendly.
She said people were not genuinely sympathetic to PWDs but showed “forced sympathy” which would not help.
“There is a thin line between the able and disabled, anyone could be disabled at anytime,” she stated.
Madam Bruce-Lyle urged PWDs to be bold in demanding their rights and educate others since many people were ignorant on the Disability law.
Mr. Alexander Bankole Williams, Advocacy Chairman, Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) urged PWDs to work collectively at the local levels for an effective advocacy of their issues.
He pushed PWDs to “aggressively” demand their rights until their voices were heard.
“We will not get it on a silver platter. Increase the demand and create fear and panic to be heard so that the next generation will get it on a silver platter,” he said.
The Chairman further advised that PWDs not to entertain fear in trying out uncharted territories “because fear will impede your progress.”
“We try to get it too right and too correct whenever we do things, and it impedes our development, that isn’t the way things should be done,” he said.
Mr John Majisi, Executive Director, Action for Inclusive Development said disability issues must be treated as a national issue and called for collective efforts to promote their rights.
He commended the GFD for its efforts in promoting issues of PWDs.