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22.11.2007 General News

Security Agencies schooled on rights of people with intellectual disability


A day's seminar to encourage the Security and the Law Enforcing Agencies to promote the Human Rights of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities opened in Accra on Wednesday with a call on them to be more patient with such individuals when dealing with them.

Mr Lawrence Lartey, Acting Director of Legal and Investigation at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said people with intellectual disabilities had the same human rights as everybody else in society.

He mentioned the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Persons with Disability Act, The Children's Act and the Domestic Violence Act and others, which he said, had made comprehensive provisions for the protection of intellectual disable people.

He stressed the need to embark on an awareness creation campaign to equip the public, especially public officers with the tools to change the negative perspective towards such people.

The seminar, organized by the Parents Association of Children with Intellectual Disability (PACID) Ghana, drew participants from the Immigration Service, Armed Forces and Prisons Service.

Mr Lartey said an essential component of a democratic society was the effective guarantee of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

"Every human being, being a member of a society or an institution has rights that must be respected by others," he said, and added that human rights were regarded as God-given rights and could not be granted to citizens by the kind permission or benevolence of the State.

He said people with disabilities might be different but they had the same needs as everyone else and if given a helping hand, they could live independently and contribute meaningfully to society.

Mrs Salome Francois, Executive Director of New Horizon Special School and the founder of PACID, expressed regret that the police service was not represented and expressed the hope that the service would participate in subsequent programmes and complement the efforts of the organization.

She said PACID undertook projects at Ho, Keta and Battor, all in the Volta region and Winneba in the Central Region with funding from the United States Embassy for Democracy and Human Rights Fund.

Mrs Charity Nikoi, the Programme Coordinator, PACID mentioned maternal infections, unmatched blood between couples, Head injuries to babies, early infant infections and high fever as some of the causes of intellectual disabilities in children.

She asked the public to involve people with intellectual disabilities in social activities and family circles as they had special needs that call for assistance.