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25.06.2004 General News

Govt urged to protect rights of persons with disabilities

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Bolgatanga, June 25, GNA - The Government has been urged to ensure the protection of the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and assist them to contribute meaningfully to national development.

Mr George Akundikiya, Upper East Regional Co-ordinator of the Integrated Social Development Centre, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), who made the call, expressed worry that laws seeking to protect rights of PWDs were not strictly enforced.

He was speaking at a forum organized by the Resource Centre For Persons With Disabilities for PWDs in Bolgatanga on Thursday. Action On Disability and Development (ADD), a UK-based NGO, sponsored the meeting that was under theme: "To Develop and Tap the Potentials of Persons With Disabilities for an All-Inclusive National Development".

The PWDs interacted with politicians, journalists and opinion leaders and voiced out issues that militated against their development.

Mr Akundikiya called on the Government to initiated effective measures to train PWDs to enable them to take care of themselves instead of depending on charity and express regret that the neglected ones begged for alms to enable them make a living.

He urged Parliament to expedite action on the Disability Bill and pass it into Law to give PWDs adequate security and assistance. Mr Stephen Azantilow of the Commission On Human Rights and Administrative Justice, requested the Government to include PWDs in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy to enable them secure money for economic activities.

Mr Azantilow who was speaking on the topic, "The Laws of the Land and Persons With Disabilities", also called on the authorities to harness the potentials of PWDs for national development and urged PWDs to avail themselves of training programmes to earn a decent living. Mr Andrews Dawara, Regional Manager of ADD, said the NGO supports disabled persons to become self-reliant and appealed to other organisations to do same.

In a speech read for Mr Mahami Saifu, Upper East Regional Minister, he said though Government and stakeholders were assisting PWDs in diverse ways, the beneficiaries would not be able to achieve their objectives unless they actively participate in national programmes designed for them.

He said Government was committed to providing education and health care for PWDs and other vulnerable people to ensure their integration into the society.