Like A Death Sentence
Abuses Against Persons With Mental Disabilities in Ghana
"In 2012 Ghana ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), pledging to ensure that persons with mental disabilities can live in the community, make decisions for themselves, enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, and be free from physical and mental abuse. The Constitution of Ghana also guarantees the protection and enjoyment of rights by every person on an equal basis with others, including persons with disabilities. Despite these guarantees, Human Rights Watch, based on field research in the Greater Accra, Central, and Eastern Regions of Ghana between November 2011 and January 2012, found that the rights of thousands of persons with mental disabilities are still being routinely violated. Many are placed, often against their will, in overcrowded and dirty psychiatric hospitals; others face confinement, often in appalling conditions, in some of the thousands of the nation's prayer camps, the privately owned Christian religious institutions with roots in the evangelical and pentecostal churches. 'Like a Death Sentence': Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana examines the experiences of people with mental disabilities in the broader community, public psychiatric hospitals, and residential prayer camps. Persons with mental disabilities in psychiatric hospitals are sometimes forced to take medications against their will, sleep on bare floors or near broken and overflowing toilets. In some of the prayer camps, patients are chained to the floor or trees for long periods, forced to fast for several days, and denied access to physical or mental health services. Under the CRPD and other international standards, these are forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Ghana's new Mental Health Act, passed in July 2012, conflicts with the CRPD by allowing for the continued involuntary admission and treatment of persons with mental disabilities without establishing proper safeguards to ensure their informed consent. The new law also limits the ability of persons with mental disabilities to make decisions, for example, about where they live and what treatment they receive. Human Rights Watch calls on the government of Ghana to bring the Mental Health Act in line with the CRPD, and to urgently address the human rights abuses outlined in this report, particularly by ensuring adequate food, shelter, and health care for persons with mental disabilities and by outlawing abusive practices such as chaining, forced fasting, prolonged seclusion, and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment in hospitals and prayer camps"--P.  of cover.
[New York, N.Y.] : Human Rights Watch, 2012
Branch Call Number:
89 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), col. map ; 27 cm