Minster for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba says government is fully committed to collaborating with persons with disabilities in fulfillment of its obligation to them.
Speaking Tuesday at the 11th United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) in New York, he said that the government has rolled out a number of activities, in an effort to change people’s negative perception of people with disabilities.
This includes the creation of a technical committee to implement a constitution. This commitee will oversee the implementation of the UNCRPD, a framework to strategize mainstream disabilities and the use of sign language at all public events.
The rest are implementations of provisions in the Ghana Accessibility Standard for the Built-environment (GASB), which has been adopted by the Ministry for Works and Housing, ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty as well as collecting data on persons with disability among many others.
Madam Otiko Djaba noted that “persons with disabilities continue to receive support from the Disability Fund, three percent of funds allocated to the district assemblies and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).”
“For example, in February 2018, an amount of $6,108,377.60 (Ghc28, 831,542.34) was sent to the Assemblies as Disability Fund to support Persons with disabilities. Out of the amount, $18,031.77(Ghc85, 110.00) was spent on the payment of fees for 52 students with disabilities in tertiary institutions. Under LEAP, 156,768 persons with disabilities are benefiting from direct cash transfers,” she added.
The Gender Minister, however, acknowledged the existence of some challenges such as the inadequate sign language interpreters, weak implementation of the GASB, inadequate assistive devices, negative public perception of disability and inadequate disaggregated data on disability.
To stem the tide, the determination of the government will be to continue to collaborate with disabled people and their representative organisations and other relevant agencies, both national and international, the Minister assured.
The Conference which is under the theme: “Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD”, started on Tuesday, June 12 and will end on Friday, June 14, 2018.
Otiko Djaba described the theme as “appropriate,” the reason being “we have talked a lot and NOW is the time to walk the talk to take action to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.”
“They and their representative organisations, civil society and the family should be involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes outlined for the full implementation of the UNCRPD.”
She told participants that the Government of Ghana works hand-in-hand with persons with disabilities, their representative organisations and civil society in the implementation of the convention and their views and inputs are sought on a number of issues on disability.
“For example, the preparation of Ghana’s initial report on its implementation of the UNCRPD, the review of Ghana’s Disability Act (715, 2006) and development of the Framework and Strategies for Disability mainstreaming in Ghana. Also, representatives of Disability organisations have been appointed as members of the Board of the National Council on Persons with Disability. The President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Mr Yaw Debrah has been appointed as the Chairperson of the NCPD Board,” she said.