Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak, has described Ghana’s failure to ratify the African Protocol on Persons with Disabilities as shameful.
The MP, who is also the Chairman of the Caucus on Disability in Parliament, said the delay in ratifying the protocol was not justifiable.
He was expressing his views on the need for the government to prioritise the issues of PWDs.
The primary objective of the Protocol is to promote, safeguard, and ensure the complete and equal exercise of all human and people’s rights for individuals with disabilities in Africa.
It is also aimed at ensuring respect for their inherent dignity.
The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, also known as the African Disability Rights Protocol, was adopted by the African Union Heads of States during the thirtieth ordinary session of the AU Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 29, 2018.
It complements the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) by addressing the rights of persons with disabilities from an African perspective, considering the lived realities of individuals with disabilities on the continent while maintaining the core values and principles as set forth in the UNCRPD.
To come into effect, this protocol requires ratification by a minimum of 15 African Union Member States.
Ten African countries (Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, and South Africa) have ratified the protocol.
Ghana has yet to ratify the protocol, and in his statement, Dr. Apaak described that as shameful.
The lawmaker made the remarks in a statement while expressing disappointment in how issues affecting PWDs have been managed in Ghana.
He believes we could do better for PWDs and has encouraged political parties and candidates who would contest the 2024 presidential election to prioritise issues related to PWDs.
He is currently attending a two-day capacity-building workshop for Members of Parliament on disability issues.
The workshop is organised by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, supported by the UN, Ghana.
“As the chairman of the Caucus on Disability in Parliament, I’m thrilled by the active participation of colleagues. Did you know that there are four models by which Disability is conceptualised and defined? They are: 1) Charity; 2) Social: 3) Medical and, 4) Human Rights.
We are learning a lot about what we are doing wrong when it comes to disability issues. Even the language and terminologies we use can have positive or negative effects on persons with disabilities.
But, honestly, we have not done well as a nation when it comes to the rights of persons with disabilities. It’s a shame that some District Assemblies apply the Disability portion of the common fund to all manner of things, rather than disburse the funds timesouly, to persons with disability.
I am of the strong conviction that disability issues must feature prominently in the 2024 electioneering campaign. We must maintain disability issues.
Disability issues must concern all of us because any of us could become disabled any day, any time. This is why we must always know that disability rights are human rights,” he said.