AburaDunkwa (C/R), May 23, GNA - Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK) district of the Central Region have called on the Government to make laws to criminalise cultural and religious practices that were discriminatory against them.
According to them, the endemic religious and socio-cultural practices and entrenched misconceptions were the reasons for the increased discrimination and marginalisation against PWDs and must be condemned outright.
They lamented that despite the existence of many disability policies, PWDs faced many forms of exclusion in the Ghanaian society, a situation they described as an abuse of their fundamental rights.
They are therefore urging the Government to undertake effective and appropriate remedial measures to protect and advance the interests of PWDs in the Country.
The PWDs made the appeal at a forum organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to educate the PWDS in the district about their civic rights and how they could participate in the governance process.
“Some religious beliefs are discriminatory. There are still some religious leaders who believe that people’s predicaments are a measure of their misdeeds”, Mr Albert Cobbinah, Chairman of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) in AAK lamented.
He said special attention must be given to the specific needs of PWDs in the hospitals for instance but that was not so.
Mrs. Yvonne Kwarah, the AAK District Director of the Social Welfare pointed out that exclusion and abuse of people with disabilities were violations of their human rights.
“We need to understand one thing that every person is a human being and that person needs to be accorded the respect and acceptance that is required”, she said
She said the 1992 constitution guaranteed human rights for all persons while special policies for those with disabilities were available, adding that as the vulnerable in society , they deserved to be protected.
“Anybody can become a disabled person at anytime and it is the duty of the public to accept PWDs because they are also human” she added.
Mrs. Kwarah said the Department of Social Welfare would continue to educate people, conscientise them to understand and accept persons with disability.
Mrs Ellen Osei, AAK District Director of the NCCE, encouraged the PWDs not to sit on the fringes of governance and democratisation process, but effectively get involved to help build a prosperous nation.
She urged them to be bold to demand greater accountability, transparency and inclusion from leaders to ensure that their demands and views were not trivialised, but treated with dignity and respect.
That, according to her was the way to bring democracy and development to all Ghanaians regardless of one’s predicaments, status or location.