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Hearing impaired face challenges in accessing justice – GNAD

By
Frederica Kyeremateng & Rosemary Wayo, GNA

Tamale, June 27, GNA –
Mr Juventus Duorinaah, Project Officer of the Ghana National Association of the
Deaf (GNAD) has indicated that majority of the hearing impaired people had
challenges in accessing the justice system to address the abuse of their
rights.

He explained that in a
survey conducted by GNAD in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions,
58.8 per cent of respondents who were deaf and dumb did not know they had
rights because state institutions did not provide appropriate support systems
that would facilitate both access to justice and information for them.

Mr Duorinaah who was
speaking at an advocacy forum in Tamale on Wednesday “Advocating the Rights of
Deaf Persons” said 60.7 per cent of respondents claimed that GNAD did not have
the means to pay for sign language interpreters to enable deaf people access
justice while 55.9 per cent said there was inadequate skilled sign language
interpreters who could adequately understand deaf people.

He expressed the hope
that the situation would improve if the necessary mechanisms were put in place
and advised deaf and dumb persons not to lose confidence in the justice system
by refusing to make attempts to seek justice if their rights were infringed.

Mr James Sambian,
Executive Director of GNAD observed that poor communication between deaf and
dumb, and the hearing people go a long way to impact negatively on education,
healthcare, justice, employment, marriage and relationships.

He said according to
the 2010 Population census, there were 110,625 deaf and dumb people in Ghana
and stressed the need for formal training for Sign Language Interpreters (SLI),
which the GNAD had scheduled to partner with the University of Cape Coast to
train 30 SLI this year across the country.

Mr Sambian appealed to
the Ghana Police Service to arrest and prosecute deaf people who begged for
money with GNAD branded envelopes to deter others from doing same.

Alhaji Razak Saani,
the Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE)
advised GNAD to advocate complete infusion into the public sector, by putting
them under the Department of Social Welfare.

He said the training
of people on sign language should also be done at the local level to ensure
that illiterate deaf people understood the sign language, which would also
enable hearing people to have immediate access to training centres.

Mr Seidu Alhassan, a
Deputy Chief Investigator at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative
Justice (CHRAJ), said in an interview with GNA that CHRAJ was mandated to serve
all including the deaf and dumb.

He said abused
persons, especially the deaf could report all cases to CHRAJ to address their
issues either going to the office or use of fax, email and indicated that its
services were free and had good communicators in sign language.

Other stakeholders
called on state institutions to discharge their legal mandate as spelt out in
the various acts and advised the association to involve the Ghana Institute of
Languages in the teaching of the sign language.

GNA

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