Persons with disabilities: The Chinese and Ghanaian perspectives

Zhou Huiming

Yaw Ofori Awuah[/caption] International law lecturer at the University of Cape Coast, Yaw Ofori Awuah has bemoaned the low publicity given the international day for persons with disabilities (PWDs). He also observed that many PWDs still do not know their rights. Speaking to 3News in a comparative report of living with disability in China and in Ghana, the international law lecturer wants governments to put in more efforts in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals that are disability centered. Almost 60% of the world’s 1 billion Persons with disabilities live in Asia and the pacific (including China), according to the UN estimates. Yet, by the end of 2012, the Asian Pacific region recorded the lowest levels of signature and ratification of the convention on the rights of persons with disability in the world. Speaking to at [caption id="attachment_107212" align="aligncenter" width="626"] Zhou Huiming[/caption] Yiyan in Hunan province of China, Zhou Huiming and Deng Jiajun, students and young disability advocates who believe the Asian continent could improve upon the respect for the dignity of persons with disability shared their opinions. Zhou Huiming admits the Chinese disability law provides for various aspects of human development. However, she added, “The Chinese legal system for persons with disabilities is comprehensive but not matured enough, I think it should be absorbed in the advance experience from foreign countries and it should also show the combination of Chinese realities.” At least some major tourist facilities at Hunan like the chairman Mao Museum are wheelchair friendly. The UN estimates that 5% of children with disability attend school in Asian pacific countries which does not include Deng Jiajun’s cousin who he says lives with mental disorder and is prohibited from social activities. “Take my cousin for example, she was born with brain disorder and she can barely talk with other people. Her parents locked her in her room, it is illegal! When she was eight years old my grand mum took care of her and she never locked her in the room, she could talk with normal people and it turns out that she became a little bit normal,” he indicated. [caption id="attachment_107213" align="aligncenter" width="626"] Deng Jiajun[/caption] Deng Jiajun says without the swift intervention of law enforcers and other stakeholders, children in Asia like his cousin will have no option. “She has no future, she has to stay in her room and wait for death, this is her only choice”. Back in Ghana, Mr. Yaw Ofori Awuah, who lectures at the faculty of law, University of Cape Coast, said challenges with implementing disability laws are not confined to the African continent. “As for implementation of the law, always there are some issues, like financial issues that hold back the implementation of the laws. There are sustainable development goals and at least three of them speak to issues that face persons with disabilities we could do more to achieve these goals.” He is however pushing for more advocacy and awareness on disability law in Ghana. “Persons with disabilities in most cases – at least – in Ghana probably are not aware of some of these laws that seek to protect them,” he observed as he called on institutions seeking the welfare of PWDS to educate them more on their rights. December 3 has been set aside as the International Day for persons with disabilities, but happenings around the world question the relevance of the day.

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Persons with disabilities, and their advocates around the world are still marking time ahead of 2030 to witness the full implementation of international disability laws provided in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Spencer Kwabena Boateng Mensah|3news|China ]]>