Advocates Call On Media And Government To Focus On Advocacy, Not
July 13, 2004
TAMALE, GHANA--Disability advocates in the Northern Region of Ghana recently organized a press gathering to call on the government to guarantee equal rights for citizens with disabilities. They also called on the media to focus on human rights and advocacy rather than charity or medical approaches to disabilities.
According to the Accra Daily Mail, Madam Mercy Apoe, a disability rights advocate and Chairperson of the Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities, urged lawmakers to quickly pass a Disability Policy Bill. Apoe said that parliament's delays in passing the measure are a form of discrimination.
"We are citizens of Ghana and so we must enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities as other citizens," she told the group, "the denial of these rights by society sometimes makes us aggressive in our quest to fight for them".
Felix Dery, a representative of Action on Disability and Development, said that many organizations designed for people with disabilities -- as opposed to those made up of people with disabilities themselves -- had created a system of segregated services. He added that governments, along with donors, aid agencies and other groups, have seldom asked members of the "disability community" about their needs before developing a disability agenda.
"Many do not have or practice policies of disability equality and thus exclude disabled persons from their activities," he said.
Dery concluded that this type of exclusion was the primary cause of poverty among people with disabilities.
"Disability bill is our life blood" (Accra Daily Mail)