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06.10.2004 Politics

Political Parties boycott Disabilities

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Accra, Oct. 6, GNA - Five Political Parties and Seven Members of Parliament invited to participate in Human Rights Lecture in Accra on Wednesday on Enforcing Voting Rights of People Living With Disabilities failed to turn-up.

The Parties are; the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP), People's National Convention (PNC), The EGLE Party and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).

The Lecture the first in a series to be organised jointly by the British Council and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Africa Office in Accra was a platform for political parties and other governance institutions to discuss ways of improving the voting rights of people living with disabilities.

The Physically Challenged, who were infuriated by the absence of the Political Parties retorted: "If they have boycotted our programme, we demand an explanation from them or we will boycott the elections". In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Nana Oye Lithur, CHRI Co-ordinator, said the people living with disabilities were unable to effectively exercise their voting rights due to their disabilities. She said the Electoral Commission (EC) had not institutionalised the use of tactile ballots and campaign messages and other political discourses were not translated through appropriate communication mediums for people living with disabilities to understand.

Nana Oye Lithur expressed regret about the inability of the Political Parties to come apart from the National Reform Party (NRP) that sent a 10- member delegation.

She said people living with disability formed a large constituency that must not be ignored.

Nana Oye Lithur called on the political parties, governance institutions, media and other stakeholders to include issues of people living with disabilities in their programmes.

She urged the EC to ensure that polling stations were accessible and friendly to people living with disabilities as well as offer necessary assistance to ensure that they participated in the electoral process.

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