Although Ghana has signed international treaties such as Convention on the Rights of the Child among many others and enacted local policies on Child Protection, Child Welfare and development of young people enshrined in the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) and Juvenile Justice Act 2003 (Act 653) to promote issues of child welfare and development, gaps exist in their implementation. Furtherance to this, the Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 5 million people with disabilities live in Ghana. Equally alarming is the disclosure by the Department of Social Welfare (Ghana) that 45% of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) are visually impaired. With an overwhelming 73.4% of the youth dominating the Ghanaian population, the inference is that a large chunk of the youth suffers from a form of disability and visual impairment. Unfortunately, these young people are confronted with limited access to education, unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, negative socio-cultural perception and stigmatization.
A Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative report of 201 highlighted that, basic rights of children and youth are violated in the juvenile justice system in Ghana. Inadequate knowledge of legal and policy frameworks guaranteeing the basic rights of children and the youth limits the ability of parents, guardians and the youth to demand fair hearing and judgment.
Advancing Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability (PWDs) is one of our major focus areas. Youth Bridge Foundation considers youth awareness of their fundamental human rights including access to justice as crucial in helping them develop as well as be positive agents of change for national development.