The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has come out with a six-page position paper on ?Affirmative Action for Persons with Disabilities in Ghana? asking for proportional representation and participation in the governance process.

Ghana Federation of the Disabled, International Disability Day, Tamale, Ghana    March through the main streets of Tamale to the Police Park     Theme of the day "Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Action on Development - The Challenge  Memenato IbrahimThe federation and its partners say an Affirmative Action Law that has clear supporting provisions for PWDs would lift the provisions in the PDW?s Act 2006 (Act 715) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Ghana.

Mrs Rita Kusi Kyeremeh, Executive Director of GFD, who made the document available to the Ghana News Agency, said it has already been presented to government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Mrs Kyeremeh thanked STAR-Ghana (a multi- donor, Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) for backing the development of the paper, which she expressed the hope that it would lead to a huge change in the quality of lives of PWDs in Ghana.

The federation has therefore proposed that 20 per cent of government appointees to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) capture Persons With Disabilities and the appointment made in consultation with it and the disability movement.

It is also asking for 10 per cent of persons appointed to occupy Chief Executive Positions at the assemblies to be PWDs and that one PWD with competence be on not less than 40 per cent of the boards of public institutions.

GFD has again suggested that 10 per cent of ministerial and deputy ministerial positions should be given to PWDs, while requesting that government Affirmative Action law under consideration should provide a quota for representation of PWDs in parliament.

?The National Development Planning Commission, MMDAs among others, should mainstream disability issues in all national planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation activities,? the federation said.

Developed in 2013, the document is a consolidated position paper containing extended proposals generated from consultations with individuals and organisations working in the interest of PWDs nationwide.

The proposal is in response to government?s move to pass an Affirmative Action Law aimed at reducing discrimination and marginalisation of vulnerable groups placing women, persons with disabilities, children and the poor at the centre.

The proposals are made around six thematic areas of governance covering participation and representation, education, employment, health, women with disabilities and accessibility.

The federation said government ought to offer a lot of scholarship opportunities for women with disabilities, create other support platforms for PWDs and consider special arrangements for women with disabilities to pursue basic, second cycle and higher education as well as revise maternity leave up six months from three.

That at least 5 per cent and progressively building up to a proportional representation of employees in every public service institution and encourage private sector employers to have at least 2 per cent of their workforce as qualified PWDs.

Healthcare professionals should be held accountable for intimidating PWD patients at their facilities while corrective surgeries should be performed for children free of charge, when required and as early as possible under the NHIS.

It said any government Affirmative Action law should direct all MDAs to make public facilities and services accessible to PWDs as well as make Legal Aid Services free and accessible for all PWDs.




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