Mr Charles Abani, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, has urged the government and parliament to expedite the reenactment of the persons with disabilities bill to bring it into compliance with international standards.
He said the message in the bill would have an impact on the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs) and called for it to be reenacted quickly to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCROD) and the African disability protocol.
“We urge the government and parliament to expedite the re-enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Bill and its legislative instrument as well as the Technical Working Committee reviews to ensure the bill is consistent with the UNCRPD and the African Disability Protocol,” he said.
Mr. Abani made the call at the recently concluded second disability inclusion summit in Accra, which was on the theme: “Achieving a Sustainable Dignified Life for Persons with Disabilities: Stakeholder Roles and Contributions.”
He also stated that as Ghana worked to leverage inclusive digital transformation and strategic innovation to drive economic growth, the digitized economy must be accessible and usable by PWDs.
He said his office valued collaboration with the government, civil society organizations, and the private sector to strengthen the coordination mechanism on disability for all growth, and that the agency was assisting the government in the design and collection of data to inform policy programmes to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
“We can only be able to achieve disability inclusion when we can develop and implement a consistent and systematic approach in all areas,” he added. “We must forge ahead in acting on disability inclusion.”
He further stated that the commitment to ensuring the rights of PWDs was not only a matter of justice, but also an investment that would go a long way toward ensuring the future of the next generation.
Highlighting the significance of the summit, Mr Abani praised disability rights organizations in Ghana for their commitment to promoting and advocating for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion.
The Council, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations, and development partners helped organize the second disability inclusion summit, which was intended to provide a platform for policy implementers to share progress toward Ghana’s commitments to the general well-being of PWDs.
It was also meant to inform and update PWDs and stakeholders on the progress that has been made to sustain dignified lives of PWDs.
The event saw the launch of three key documents: the DVLA Policy for Testing and Training Drivers with Disabilities, the National Inclusion Disaster Risk Management Guidelines, and the Inclusive Education Directory.
“I must commend the summit organizers, the Council, the GFD, and other actors and partners for promoting and advocating for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion in Ghana,”
Mr. Abani said, adding; “That is what we stand for in the United Nations to ensure that, absolutely, no one is left behind.”
The summit provided disability rights advocates with the opportunity to assess whether the over two million people with disabilities, who account for 8.5% of Ghana’s population according to the last census, are truly leveraging opportunities and exercising their rights and abilities to participate in the country’s economy.
Madam Esther Akua Gyamfi, Executive Secretary of the National Council on Persons with Disabilities, stressed that this year’s summit was about working together, sharing ideas, and best practices to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
She urged everyone to take bold steps and bring all relevant stakeholders together to overcome the challenges faced by people with disabilities to help change the negative narrative about PWDs.