Parents urged to stop concealing children with disabilities
by William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
The Director of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in the Bawku West District, Mr. Thomas Akayeti, has advised parents who hide children with disabilities from the public and civil societies, to stop the practice, because it was a violation of the rights of the children.
Speaking at this year’s commemoration of the Day of the African Child at Zebilla, Mr. Akayeti regretted that attempts by his office and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to identify and assist persons with disabilities, including children, are sometimes impeded, because some parents hide them in their homes.
He said even in cases where they had hints of the presence these children and enquire their whereabouts from their parents, some of them denied knowledge of having children with disabilities.
Mr. Akayeti was not also happy with parents who make their children go begging and at the end of the day collect the money, stressing that Ghanaians must stop differential treatment and discrimination against children living with disabilities.
He said apart from the human rights enjoyed by every Ghanaian, persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) have special rights, which, when violated, was tantamount to abuse of rights and are thereby punishable by law.
The World Vision Area Development Programme (ADP) Manager of the Bawku West District, Mr. Bernard Kpare, said the purpose of the celebration was to create the awareness of the rights of children, and the need for them to participate in decision making.
He said World Vision, since its presence in the area in 2010, had been helping PLWDs to celebrate their international day, but initially, they were not getting any support like they had this year.
According to him, the 2% District Assembly’s Common Fund for PLWDs had been accorded them due to the efforts of World Vision.
Mr. Kpare said this year’s commemoration focused on PLWDs who need protection and love. He emphasised the need to understand the rights of PLWDs to integration.
The Day of the African Child is celebrated annually to honour children who rose up to fight for quality education in South Africa on June 16, 1976, where hundreds were shot that day, more than a hundred killed, and over one thousand injured in the protests that followed.
The Organisation of African Unity initiated the day of the African Child in 1991, and it has been celebrated every year since. Events this year highlighted the importance protecting the rights of the children living with disabilities, who are often stigmatised and marginalised, and frequently do not get the chance to go to school.
Children in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region made a passionate call to opinion leaders, stakeholders, parents and all authorities concerned to help promote and protect their rights.
The children held placards reading, ‘Let us stop child trafficking and violence against women,’ ‘vehicles and structures should be made to favor people living with disabilities,’ stop forced marriage and child labour.’
The children recited poems, performed dramas, sang and danced.
Hammadu Abubakar, Deputy District Director of Education, lamented over the high rate of absenteeism in the area, because some of the children go to market on market days.
He said if the fight for their rights for protection would be won, they must do what was expected of them by society.
It was organised by World Vision Ghana, in collaboration with Ghana Education Service in the Bawku West District, and was on the theme, “The rights of children with disabilities; the duty to protect, respect, and promote and fulfill.”
by William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
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