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07.06.2007 General News

Don’t shun intellectually disabled


The public has been urged not to marginalize persons with intellectual disability but accept them as they are and help them to function better.

“They have been marginalized for far too long and it is about time we include them in every activity that is done in the country,” Mrs Salome Francois, President of Parents Association of Children with Intellectual Disability (PACID), said at a press conference on the human rights of such people.

She said persons with intellectual disability were normal people but with delayed or slow learning ability as compared to their
developmental age making it difficult for them to care of themselves without the supervision of an adult.

Mrs Francois said unlike their other colleagues living with various forms of disabilities they also had a voice but had difficulty in being heard.

She said it was time for parents of such people to speak on their behalf so that their basic human rights were not taken away.

Mrs Francois said it was for this reason that PACID was formed to advocate, lobby and negotiate with policymakers and government on their behalf to help bridge the gap between 'normal” people and such persons.

Some of the causes of ID are lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, prolonged labour and infections of the brain.

Mrs Francois noted that the constitution, in line with the declaration of human rights, did not exclude any individual and persons with ID and autism were no exception.

She expressed her displeasure about the lack of educational facilities for persons with ID and autism saying not all children with
profound or multiple disabilities attended schools although constitutionally they had the right to.

Mrs Francois urged society to ignore traditional beliefs that these children were possessed by evil spirits and see them as gifts from God and give them the best to make them productive.

Mrs Lilian Ayete Nyampong of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice said human rights were universal, innate, inalienable and indivisible and should therefore be accorded everyone.

She said unfortunately 26 million of persons with ID worldwide were of the world's poorest living on less than a dollar a day with 70 per cent of them being unemployed.

Ghana, she said, had signed the UN Convention on Persons with ID but it had not entered into force and called on government to put up the necessary structures and machinery to make the convention binding.

Source: GNA