The National Youth Network which comprises various youth groups in the country, has called on the government and other stakeholders to pay critical attention to the plight of Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs), as they are the hardest hit socioeconomically during pandemics such as we have Covid-19.
These remarks were made at the closing ceremony of a One-Day National Dialogue on the Participation and Inclusion of Youth with Disability in Decision Making and Governance, organized by the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa and in collaboration with the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations and the National Youth Network, on Thursday December 16, 2021 at the Ange Hill Hotel.
Buttressing the need to act on the call, the Youth Network said even though there are several anti-discriminatory legal provisions that have been put in place to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disability, a week hardly goes by without a reported case of discrimination or abuse of a person living disability.
According to the Network, not only are these people discriminated against and abused, but they are also eliminated from the decision making and governance process of the country.
“In Ghana, the structural governance space within the public and civic space in civil society organizations and networks have not sufficiently adapted to the fact that youth with disability have the capacity to meaningfully contribute to policy discourse and implementation.”
Recent data from the World Bank indicates 1 billion, representing 15% of the global population, experience some form of disability.
Despite these statistics, issues pertaining to disability are oftentimes swept under the carpet.
Ghana has also signed, ratified and adopted various international agreements including the United Nations Convention on the rights of PWDs and the African Decade of the Disabled Person.
Ghana passed the Persons with Disability Act (Act 715) in 2006 to provide a legal framework and protection for persons with disability. This was immediately followed by the formation of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to oversee and supervise the implementation of the Act.
The participants of the dialogue whom were largely persons with disabilities made many recommendations some of which includes; an increase in the budgetary allocation to the special education unit of the GES to 1.5%, making sign language learning compulsory and part of the curriculum up to the SHS and for all teaching and learning institutions IE, law schools, colleges of educations, nursing training schools, all medical schools, the provision of places where unemployed PWDS can register for jobs etc.