Derogatory remarks about persons with disability an offence

Nana Akwasi Awuah, a legal practitioner  and social activist, says  making derogatory remarks about persons with disability (PWDs) could attract a fine of Gh¢600 or three months imprisonment or both.

He therefore advised the public to be very cautious in their dealings with PWDs and endeavour to treat them well.

Mr. Awuah gave this advice when he met with members of Sharecare Ghana, an association of people with autoimmune and neurological conditions, to educate them on their rights.

Citing section 37 of the disability law, Mr. Awuah emphasized that it is an offence to use a person’s disability to insult him or her and make derogatory remarks about the person.

“A Person shall not call a person with disability derogatory names because of the person’s disability,” he said urging people with disability to test the law in that direction, since that could deter people from engaging in such unacceptable behaviour.

“A person who commits such an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or both,” he added.

On education, the lawyer said, heads of schools should not refuse children with disability admission, since that is also an offence.

He read the relevant portion of the constitution to members: “A person responsible for admission into a school or any learning institution shall not refuse to give admission on account of disability, unless the disability has been assessed by the Ministry responsible for Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.”

Some mothers of children with Cerebral Palsy complained that their children had been refused admission in some public schools on account of their disability and felt helpless

Some of the mothers also said their children are given derogatory names such as “children of the river god” (Nsuo Ba) and expressed readiness to test the law to deter the public from such behavior.

Ms Farida Bedwei, a member of Sharecare who has Cerebral Palsy, and is a software engineer, called for efficient assessment centres for children with disabilities to enable the parents to know whether their children should attend a special school or a regular school.