THE MAJORITY chief whip, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah, has stated that the quest of Ghana to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), needs to include persons with disabilities in the development agenda. According to him, without their participation, it would be impossible to have poverty and hunger cut in half by 2015 as envisioned.
The chief whip disclosed this on the floor of Parliament on Monday, when he was making a statement on persons with disability.
He disclosed that there was a need for awareness within the country since a disabled person was not seen as a person who could have a life, get a job and live independently.
According to Hon. Kyei-Mensah, who is also a member of parliament (MP) for Suame, “It is in the promotion of this that the international community united to reaffirm the dignity and worth of every person with disabilities, and to provide states with an effective legal tool which is the convention to end the injustice, discrimination and violation of rights that confront most persons with disabilities.”
The MP asserted that for the first time, the convention has moved away from creating specialized programmes for persons with disabilities, such as rehabilitation, to requiring that all development programmes including those supported through international corporations, be inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities.
He noted that in a developing country like Ghana, which has passed comprehensive legislation aimed at promoting and protecting the basic rights of persons with disabilities, public facilities have also been made available.
The MP for Suame, however, stated that the Act passed by the House in August was not enough to bind Ghana to other countries and organizations.
He said out of the 118 countries that have signed the convention, only seven have ratified it, adding that, “For its enforcement, ratification by not less than 20 countries is required.”
“Since Ghana is committed to meeting the MDGs by the year 2015, it is important that we ratify the convention in both letter and spirit,” he concluded.
He added that individuals, who were disabled, now have access to some basic facilities because society has removed the physical and cultural barriers that had previously hampered their full participation in society.By Sylvanus Nana Kumi & Ethel Kangeree