The Director of Human Rights at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Dr. Isaac Annan, has bemoaned the lack of effective collaboration between disability rights organizations and the commission to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities.
The situation, according to him, has lead to persons with disabilities suffering abuses in silence.
“I can say on authority that CHRAJ is not getting adequate collaboration from disabled people’s groups or civil society organizations to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities”, he stressed.
Dr. Annan explained that very often, people who fall victims to human rights abuses are those who do not have any knowledge about mechanisms available to seek redress or do not have the confidence to approach CHRAJ for support. And in the case of persons with disabilities, it would take the help of disability rights advocates for them to get support.
“Despite the existence of the legal and institutional regime, i.e Persons with Disabilities Act, National Council on Persons with Disability and Mental Health Authority, as well as CSOs working for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and mental health issues, there is inadequate sensitization and awareness on human rights issues relating to PWDs and persons with mental health disabilities”, he added.
Dr. Isaac Annan made the comments on Friday, December 18, 2020, when Ghana Ghana Somubi Dwumadie (Ghana Participatory Programme), held a media launch to announce its second call for proposals.
The programme intends to award grants totaling Gh¢11million to disabled people’s groups and disability rights advocacy organizations.
Key objectives of the grant are to improve the wellbeing of, and empower people with disabilities, including mental health disabilities, and to reduce stigma and discrimination. Also to generate research to inform policy and practice on disability and mental health.
Dr. Annan observed that stigma and discrimination undermine the right to basic services such as healthcare, education, housing, livelihood among others; which ultimately leads to social exclusions and disemployment of affected persons.
He disclosed that “there is a mechanism available at CHRAJ that deals with all forms of stigma and discrimination related complaints, and provides appropriate remedies”.
He pledged the commission’s willingness to collaborate with civil society organizations to intensify public awareness of the existence of the dispute resolution services within CHRAJ as a mechanism for dealing with stigma and discrimination; while also educating the public on the need to respect everyone’s rights, including those of persons with disabilities.