Ghana: People With Mental Disabilities Face Serious Abuse
Take Steps to Improve Plight of Mentally Disabled
October 2, 2012
At Heavenly Ministries Spiritual Revival and Healing Center, some people with presumed mental disabilities lived in buildings with cubicles for each resident and were chained to walls. They could not leave the cubicles without permission of the staff at the prayer camp.
© 2011 Shantha Rau Barriga/Human Rights Watch
Ghana: Disability Rights Convention Ratified
Ghana: Serious Abuse for People With Mental Disabilities
The government needs to take immediate steps to end abuses against people with mental disabilities in institutions, prayer camps, and the community. The conditions in which many people with mental disabilities live in Ghana are inhuman and degrading.
Medi Ssengooba, Finberg fellow
People with mental disabilities suffer severe abuses in psychiatric institutions and spiritual healing centers in Ghana, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Ghanaian government has done little to combat such abuse or to ensure that these people can live in the community, as is their right under international law.
The 84-page report, “‘Like a Death Sentence’: Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana,”describes how thousands of people with mental disabilities are forced to live in these institutions, often against their will and with little possibility of challenging their confinement. In psychiatric hospitals, people with mental disabilities face overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. In some of the spiritual healing centers, popularly known as prayer camps, they are often chained to trees, frequently in the baking sun, and forced to fast for weeks as part of a “healing process,” while being denied access to medications.