Press Releases (12)
Press Release: Put Mental Health Care on Top of the Political Agenda
Mental health care services lack adequate funding, political attention and social awareness leaving mentally disabled people with few choices for treatment. Today, on the World Mental Health Day, October 10, we call for more attention to the social stigma around mental disabilities and more political support to raise the level of care provided at traditionel treatment centres in Ghana.
Persons with mental disabilities are often subjected to discrimination, social exclusion and ill-treatment. More needs to be done to combat the social stigma, not least at work places, which is this year’s World Mental Health Day theme. HRAC’s focus is on the human rights and healthcare for mental health patients at traditional or faith-based centres, where the treatment is not certified and often unregulated. With support from STAR-Ghana, HRAC in partnership with MindFreedom Ghana, recently initiated the “Promoting quality access to mental health care and rights of persons with mental disabilities in traditional mental health centres” project. The aim of the project is to improve mental health care services and treatment in traditional mental health settings in Ghana by creating awareness among civil society as well as service provider on mental health issues.
The issue with mental disabilities in Ghana is highly prevalent. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 3% of Ghana’s 28.2 million people suffer severe mental disorders, and 10% suffer from mild to moderate mental disorders. These mild disorders include anxiety disorders and depression, two very curable cases (follow the links to see the full Press Release).
20th February, 2017
HRAC CALLS FOR JUSTICE FOR LADY STRIPPED AND ASSAULTED IN KUMASI
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has noted with great unease, a video circulating on the media where a lady suspected to have stolen GHS 1,100 on Friday was stripped naked, beaten, and paraded barefooted on the streets of Kejetia by a crowd of men. These men forced open her legs to take pictures and videos of her vagina, while others inserted their toes into her reproductive organ, flogging her on the buttocks and her plea for mercy was not heard. She was stripped of all her clothes with the exception of her red bra and felt too weak to defend herself so she laid helpless on the street.
HRAC condemns this act and finds it debasing, dehumanizing and in utmost violation of the right of the victim enshrined under Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Article 15 provides:
(1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
(2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained be subjected to –
(a) torture or other cruel inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
(b) any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from dignity and worth as a human being.
The criminal offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) also states under section 84, that whoever unlawfully assaults any person is guilty of misdemeanor. This case falls on all fours with the provisions under section 86 of Act 29 which defines the scope of assault and battery. The perpetrators of these heinous acts should be punished in order to deter others from repeating or even contemplating on repeating such violent acts.
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre therefore urges the police, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and other stakeholders to expedite action on getting justice for the victim. HRAC will also take all the necessary steps to ensure that the right of the victim is enforced and ensure that justice is duly served.
Human Rights Advocacy Centre
Osu, Ako-Adjei. Accra
Violence against anyone is unjustifiable. We do not in any way support the violence that occurred over the weekend at the St. Paul's Boys Senior High School in the Volta Region as reported in the media. We strongly condemn the use of firearms by the police in this instance and also worried about the attempt by the students to lynch their colleagues on suspicion that they are homosexuals.
Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) is keenly following this incident to ensure that:
1. The Ghana Police Service as soon as possible comes out with a detailed report on the issue of the stray bullet that killed the first year student as reported.
2. The students who are suspected to be homosexuals are treated fairly by:
1. Not putting them in an adult cell because they are children as required in Section 17 of the Juvenile Justice Act (Act 653)
2. Not making them speak or make any statement until they have a guardian or a lawyer who will represent them as required in Section 13 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2003 (Act 653)
3. The Police ensure that the children are protected from any harm (seen their images is already in the media)
Mob justice is not right. It has many disadvantages especially the abuse of fundamental human rights. We encourage the general public to desist from any form of mob justice on suspected offenders. Such offenders have human rights and by law are innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law.
We encourage the media to desist from sensationalising the issue of homosexuality and rather focus on the human elements of the death of a protesting student and the potential mob justice against two students who have not been investigated and trailed.
All individuals are humans and are therefore entitled to human rights as enshrined in Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and all other international instruments.
Robert Akoto Amoafo
Human Rights Advocacy Centre