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Let’s Take on Assemblies on Inclusion of PWDs – Journalist Proposes

By: Ewoenam Kpodo |Voltaonlinegh.com |

Editor of an online news portal, The Lakenews and Lecturer at EP University College, Ho, Harrison Belley has proposed taking one district assembly in the country to court to test the law on compliance with the Disability Act.

Mr Belley said public servants at the assemblies still continue to give permits and supervise new buildings which are difficult to be accessed by persons with disability (PWDs).

According to him, the assemblies and authorities responsible to ensure buildings are constructed in a way that they are disability-friendly, will continue to look on unconcerned until people stand up to demand for the right thing to be done.

He said for now, it behooves stakeholders including media and civil society organisations (CSOs) to take the issue up and demand compliance with the Disability Act.

Parliament enacted the Persons with Disability Act 2006, (Act 715) considered a noteworthy milestone in Ghana’s human rights discourse with the hope of improving the life of PWDs by including them in the mainstream society especially in terms of accessibility.

Per the Act, it is incumbent on those putting up new buildings to which the public will have access, to provide ramps to facilitate access to the building by PWDs who will be wheelchair-bound. Where the building is a storey-building, there must be an elevator to convey PWDs to whichever floor.

The Act also stipulates that within the period of ten years of passing of the law, which had since elapsed by 2016, old buildings must conform to the accessibility bit where people who provide services at public places must make it easy for PWDs, by providing appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by them.

However, the Act is yet to be implemented as older building still stand as they were, unfriendly to PWDs, 12 years after its enactment. More so, new buildings still spring up without any consideration of the Act.
This, the Media practitioner said, must not be allowed to continue and charged other bodies to head to the law courts to force authorities into compliance.

He made the proposal during an inception meeting organised by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform, Ghana in collaboration with GIZ, a German development agency for journalists on Wednesday in the Volta Regional capital, Ho.

The meeting was meant to whip up interest of journalists in the region in reporting on sustainable development goals (SDGs) to help the country achieve the targets by 2030

Coordinator of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform, Ugonna Ukaigwe observed the media has a critical role to play in ensuring people get to know of the SDGs, thus, achieving the target, a reality.

According to her, the media must link the social, economic, equality and other stories they cover to the 17 goals Ghana has committed herself to achieve by 2030, believing that pointing the loopholes out will put the citizenry and those in authority on their toes to work towards the goals.

Ms Ukaigwe wanted journalists to be advocates for the SDGs asking that they “link social issues that happen on a daily basis to SDGs for example, stories on open defecation can be linked to SDG 6 and 3” to bring development that meets the needs of the present generation with no compromise to the future, something the 17 SDGs are about.

The meeting also saw journalists talk about the challenges they face in their work and deliberated on the way forward while resolving to do their best to contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.

Source: www.voltaonlinegh.com

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