Advocates To Bring Criminal Charges Under New Disability
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 11, 2006
ACCRA, GHANA--Angry about what they say are ongoing acts of discrimination, advocates with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled have decided to use the country's new anti-discrimination law to force changes in how people with disabilities are treated.
According to the Accra Public Agenda news agency, the GFD announced last week that it intends to bring formal charges under the Disability Act 2006 against Metro Mass Transit for failing to provide accessible transportation. The law, which Parliament passed earlier this year, guarantees accessibility in public places, employment, transportation, and medical care.
The disability advocates also said they would bring charges against a radio station and two morning disc jockeys for negative descriptions they gave of people with hearing- and vision-related disabilities. They claimed that on December 4, JOY-FM talk-show host Ato Kwamena Dadzie commented on the fact that Mr. Kojo Okanto -- who is deaf -- received a radio cassette recorder as part of his prize as Best Farmer for 2006 in his district.
Even though the co-host reasoned that Okanto's family might be able to use the recorder, Ato said that giving one to the "deaf and dumb" man was like "giving a TV to a blind person".
GFD representatives said the law bans derogatory remarks about people with physical disabilities and allows offenders to face criminal prosecution. They added that they hoped to take advantage of media coverage about the court proceedings and subsequent convictions to bring public attention to the Act's provisions.
In a related story, the federation is calling for a review of the Computer Selection Placement system to ensure it is accessible to people with vision-related disabilities, and for education officials to exempt those with hearing-related disabilities from taking part in some English and French oral exams.
"Persons With Disabilities to Sue Offenders" (Public Agenda)
"Physically Challenged Call for Review of Computer Placement and SSSCE Examinations" (Public Agenda)