A technical committee for review of the Disability Act (Act 715 2006) and its Legislative Instrument was inaugurated yesterday at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The Disability Act was passed by the Parliament of Ghana on 23rd June 2006 to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and ensure their total and equitable inclusion in Ghanaian society at all levels. However the Act after several years of passage is known to have some crucial gaps which are inimical to a total protection of the Rights of Persons with Disability in Ghana. For example the act is simply silent on the specific rights of women, children and the aged with disabilities. The most gaping hole so far as the Act is concerned, is the absence of a Legislative Instrument (LI) for effective implementation of relevant existing provisions.
In 2007, Ghana signed onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ratified it in 2012.
Reference to article four clause b of the Convention, setting up of the technical committee is a step taken by the government of Ghana to modify laws to conform to UNCRPD as stipulated in article 4 of the Convention.
The honorable minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison, who was at the function with her deputy and chief director performed the inaugural ceremony and entreated the fifteen member committee to work tirelessly to complete the work within the five months time frame.
The chairman for the committee Dr. Samuel Kabah of the Ghana Health Service said that the committee was committed to efficiently and effectively discharge its duties not for financial gains but for the interest of persons with disabilities. He was emphatically hopeful that the committee could complete the task before the timeline given.
The program was organised under the auspices of the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) with funding support from the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, (GFD) and StarGhana Foundation who both have interest in the process.
According to Alexander Bankole Williams who is the chairman of the GFD's Advocacy committee and a member of the Act 715 review technical committee which was inaugurated yesterday, the Federation has “heaved a sigh of relief with the inauguration of the committee”. “The Federation hopes that the hard work it has been putting into reviewing the act with its numerous and stakeholders since 2013 has now yielded the next level of significant result. He commended the National Council on Persons with Disabilities adding that the coming into being of the committee is through their hard work.
He said he has some confidence in the committee and believes the committee will be able to deliver it mandate as expected. He expects the Ministry to commit resources into the work of the committee and as soon as possible lay the recommendations of the committee before Cabinet for further processing.