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Press Releases of Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Source: Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations

Commemoration of National Day of Persons with Disabilities held today

The disability movement in Ghana,led by the Ghana Federation of Disability
Organizations,on Tuesday,June23,2020,commemorates the National Day of Persons
with Disabilities.

On June 23rd, 2006, parliament of Ghana passed the Persons with Disabilities Act,2006 (Act715) which seeks to promote and protect the rights of person swith disabilities in Ghana and to ensure theirequitable,inclusive and effective participation in the Ghanaian society at all levels.

Since 2009,June 23rd has been commemorated annually as the National Day of
persons with disability by civil society under themes that promoted inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in all endeavours including education, employment and governance. As Ghana goes to the poll this year ,the focus on this Day dwells on political participation of persons with disabilities and inclusive election.

Act 715 is fourteen years now, however, its implementation has been slow and
ineffective and as such has little positive impact on the lives of persons with disabilities and society.The 1992 Constitution of Ghana promotes participation so fall citizens in electoral processes in Ghana.The United Nations Conventionon the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (article 29) reinforces the provisions in the Ghana Constitution by enjoining all its States Parties to guarantee to persons with disabilitiespolitical rights and the opportunities to enjoin them on an equal basis with others.

Even though Ghana has made progress over the years to have an inclusive governance process,persons with disabilities in Ghana continue to face challenges in participating fully in elections.Some of the challenges include in accessible registration and voting centers;inadequate materials or facilities, limited access to voter education by all categories of persons with disabilities, imperfect opportunities created to vote independently and privately,absence of appropriate assistance from polling officials and uninformed electoral officials who discourage persons with disabilities from exercising their franchise.

On the commemoration of this day,we call on the Electoral Commission,political
parties and all relevant stakeholders to consider putting the following measures in place in order to make Ghana elections 2020 more inclusive for persons with disabilities:

? Ensure that voting procedures,facilities and materials are appropriate,
accessible and easy to understand and use by all categories of persons with
disabilities including personswith intellectual disability,deaf-blindness,and
mental/psychosocia ldisabilities;

? Protect the righ to fall persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in the elections,facilitating the use of assistive and neimproved technologies where appropriate;

? Incorporate disability-related questions in their data collection tools in order to maintain an accurate data on different categories of the voter population of persons with disabilities.

? Particularly, the media and National Commission for Civic Education are
encouraged to make all information and services more accessible and available
to persons with disabilities.

? Political parties are encouraged to include and prioritize disability issues in their manifestos.

? Civil society programmes and activities should be disability inclusive and
promote participation of persons with disabilities in elections.

? Electoral Commission shoul dconsult and involve persons with disabilities in all electoral programmes and services that it delivers before, during and after the elections;

? Collaborate with relevant organisations of persons with disabilities in the delivery of accessible electoral services across the country.

Persons with disabilities remain active citizens and contributors to Ghana’s