Amnesty International, Ghana has condemned the second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin for denigrating persons with disability.
The politician is reported to have passed some disparaging comments against the former Minister for Chieftaincy, Dr Henry Seidu Danaa, and the former Minister of Communications, Dr Omane Boamah for being blind and stammer respectively.
Mr. Bagbin who is aspiring to contest the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential election is alleged to have told a meeting of some NDC members in Volta region that former President Mahama made wrong decisions in a appointing handicapped persons, stressing the appointment of Dr. Danaa (blind) and Dr. Boamah (stammer) was bad.
But Amnesty International in a statement on Thursday described Alban Bagbin’s choice of words as critical, discriminatory and humiliating.
The statement signed by its Director Robert Akoto Marfo urged the Second Deputy Speaker to apologise for his comments.
“We stand for inclusivity and diversity. Being blind or stammering does not prevent a person from doing what they have the capacity to do. We urge him to retract and apologize to these people for his disrespect and disregard for their difference.”
According to the organization, the words of the NDC stalwart is “very discouraging”.
“We condemn his statement for all its intent and purpose and find it regrettable that a leader of his caliber would make such an unfortunate and disparaging statement,” it said.
The statement further observed, in reference to Ghana’s 1992 constitution, that Bagbin’s utterances go contrary to Ghana’s commitment to improve the wellbeing and rights of all its citizens.
“We find his statement offensive, insensitive, degrading, and discriminating. It goes against Ghana’s commitment to advance the wellbeing and human rights of all citizens and to eschew discrimination as enshrined in Article 17 (1 & 2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana,” it stated.
“We believe Ghana is a country committed to its international human rights obligations especially for minority groups. We are sure that Ghana is incrementally working towards realizing our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and will not condone this statement that is retrogressive,” the statement added.