People with Disabilities (PWDs) have called on the public to stop the stigmatisation and treat them as equals.
“It was high time they supported us rather than maltreating, abusing, disrespecting, taking advantage of us or even trampling on our rights,” they stressed.
The PWDs made the call at a panel discussion on accessing Ghana’s human rights record, jointly organised by the African Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) and the Faculty of Law, University of Professional Studies-Accra (UPSA).
It was dubbed “Ghana’s Human Rights Record: An assessment of the treatment of vulnerable groups in Ghana”.
The discussion brought together the physically challenged, visually impaired, albinos, those with Down syndrome, representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Legal Aid, among other stakeholders.
Madam Elsie Ampomah Dapaah, a law student, who led the discussion, pleaded with families to stop “caging” people with Autism or Down Syndrome and rather, learn to love, tolerate, understand and respect them like any member of the family.
“Ghana does not recognise autistic children though they are brilliant and beautiful people,” she added.
An Autistic herself, and raised in the Western part of the World, Madam Dapaah expressed shock that Ghana after 60 years did not have a policy, which took care of PDWs and especially, people with Down syndrome, saying, the most violated rights in Ghana were disability rights and they experienced this from birth to death.
She said anyone could be rendered disabled at any time and that it was no fault of theirs to be in the position they found themselves, there was therefore the need for Ghana to do something to help them.
Madam Dapaah called for sensitisation among the populace to accept and live in love with autistic people in particular.
Mr Newton Komla Katseku, Executive Director, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism expressed discontentment about how albinos were denied access to some communities and marginalised.
Mr Katseku, an Albino, appealed to government to also provide well-ventilated classrooms with good lightening system as well as friendly educational materials such as textbooks to improve their learning as they were “legally blind”.
Government should help protect their rights to life, education, health and employment, among others, he appealed.
Mr Selasie Sikanku, a radio presenter with Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and visually impaired spoke on discrimination against PDWs in terms of marriage and urged family and friends to stop being hindrances to them, when they want to marry those who were not challenged.
He asked that health officials be trained to communicate effectively with the Deaf and Dump since that could be dangerous because proper care may not be given and wrong prescriptions given for lack of effective communication.
Mr Sikanku said braille must be provided to enable the visually impaired to read and study documents, especially, the constitution.
Mr Elijah Deku, reporter, Kekeli radio, Volta Region, who is physically challenged, sharing his story on the challenges he encountered before securing a job because he was a midget, and advised people to accept all because they were created in God’s image.