The United Nations Human Rights Council has raised concerns about the lack of enforcement of Ghana’s Mental Health Law, Act 846(2012).
The Council observed at a recently held Universal Peer Review( UPR) Process in Geneva, Switzerland that the absence of a robust enforcement regime has made it difficult to report the most inhumane and degrading treatment of persons with mental health conditions in the country
It “observed that a lack of enforcement of the Mental Health Act (2012) made it difficult to monitor, probe, and systematically report inhumane and degrading treatment of persons with mental health conditions. Adults with and affected by psychosocial or mental health conditions continued to become victims of stigma, discrimination, and physical abuse.”
The Council also advised Ghana’s Mental Health Authority to lead a nationwide consultation to determine a policy to integrate the activities of traditional medicine and faith-based healing practices into mainstream psychiatric and mental healthcare.
These observations and recommendations were unveiled in Accra at the launch of a Joint NGO Shadow Report On Mental Health and Human Rights in Ghana which was submitted at the 4th Cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in July 2022 by MindFreedom Ghana with contributions from 26 mental health nongovernmental and civil society organizations in Ghana.
Speaking at the event, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mental Health Authority, Prof Akwasi Osei lauded MindFreedom Ghana for their relentlessness in mental health advocacy in Ghana. He also congratulated the Organization for making a case and ensuring that some of their recommendations have been taken on board by the Council.
Prof Osei noted that the recommendations were not meant to attack the nation but rather to draw the attention of policymakers to issues relative to mental health, adding,” We’ve made some strides in our Human rights efforts but more needs to be done.”
He further encouraged the government to ensure the implementation of the recommendations.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana, Mr Dan Taylor emphasized the need for government to protect the human rights of persons with mental health conditions.
Mr. Taylor told participants at the event, “While the review process has been completed, it is the hope of NGOs/CSOs and all well-meaning human rights and mental health defenders to see that Ghana’s commitment to promote and protect the human rights of persons with mental health conditions are fully realized.
He mentioned that in order to make the above a reality, the civil society fraternity that the State would accept all recommendations and treat their implementation as urgent while engaging in wide consultations with partners and stakeholders at all levels to secure resources and alliances for the implementation of recommendations.
He also called on the state to adopt evidence-based, innovative, and people-centered approaches in the implementation of the recommendations.
“These when undertaken, would facilitate the effective implementation of recommendations and garner the support needed to promote the universal human rights of persons with mental health conditions in Ghana.”
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process that involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 United Nations (UN) Member States.
Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed thrice within the first, second, and third UPR cycles. During the fourth UPR cycle, which is the most recent, States were again expected to indicate steps they had taken to implement recommendations from the previous reviews that they committed to implement and to highlight recent human rights developments in their countries.
The UPR is thus a United Nations process conducted under the auspices of the Human Rights Council with the aim of improving the human rights situation globally and addressing violations in all countries. Every member state of the United Nations goes through this comprehensive review of its human rights practices every five years. Ghana’s first, second, and third UPR reviews took place in May 2008, October 2012, and November 2017, respectively.
By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagenda.news