Speaking on challenges facing deaf people, President of GNAD Emmanuel Sackey, said driving is a visual activity which has to do with the brains and therefore there should not be any impediment for deaf people to acquire licenses.
The Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) has called on the Board of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to establish systems and processes that would enable deaf persons in the country to own driving licenses.
Speaking at the annual meet- the-press programme in Accra to deliberate on challenges facing deaf people, President of GNAD Emmanuel Sackey, said driving is a visual activity which has to do with the brains and therefore there should not be any impediment for deaf people to acquire licenses.
Mr Sackey noted that according to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), “there are no known reports that indicate that deaf drivers are a threat to other road users in the countries where deaf people are allowed to obtain driving license.”
He stated that in South Africa, persons with hearing disability were given driving licences and the opportunity to drive without any problem, which has created employment for them and made them feel part of society.
“But when it comes to driving in Ghana deaf people are marginalised even when such people pass their driving license examinations”.
Mr Sackey stressed that the 1992 Constitution, the Disability Rights Law, and various International Conventions on the rights of persons with disability makes provision for the inclusion of such persons in all facets of national life, hence the need for the DVLA and government to grant their request.
He added that a WFD survey showed that “deaf drivers are better than hearing ones since they respect road safety regulations and use rear-mirrors more effectively on roads and have very sharp senses that help them to compensate for the loss of hearing.”
He emphasized that deafness should not hinder the quality of life of deaf persons and urged the DVLA to hasten the processes and procedures to enable them to acquire license, because without it their rights and privileges to drive and access other facilities would be restricted.
The Executive Director of GNAD, James M. Sambian, said it was high time deaf people were recognised as part of the human diversity and strengthen.
He called on duty bearers, the media, parliament, the executive, the judiciary and other national and international agencies to collaborate in the quest to achieving human rights for deaf people using the United Nations Convention as the standard tool for the rights of persons with disability.
Youth President of the GNAD, Benjamin Bekoe, also stressed the need to see sign language as a fundamental human right of all deaf people, which would provide them with accessibility, equality, strengthen the deaf community and alternative communication for hearing people.
He said sign language was not a coded language and that having no Ghanaian sign language meant Government was denying the constitutional rights of deaf people.
He called for the recognition of the Ghanaian sign language in the educational, health, security, social development sectors, television stations, executive and parliament, law courts and the prisons.
Mr Sackey said the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) would be celebrated in the last week of September and called for the participation of all stakeholders to make this year’s celebrations a success.
He said the theme for the celebration which is; “with sign language rights, our children can” is to recognize deaf individuals as primary visual beings belonging to a linguistic minority group.
He said it also seeks to promote the rights of deaf people, highlight specific human rights topics that merit attention and spread awareness about deaf culture as widely as possible.
He called for more sponsorship for a fruitful celebration.