Validation workshop on mental health human rights report ends

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MindFreedom Ghana, a major mental health advocacy organisation, has concluded regional meetings with civil society organisations to validate mental health human rights shadow report for submission to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

The validation is part of a nationwide consultation engagements which began in January 2022 to gather public input on Ghana’s human rights situation for people with psychosocial disabilities and mental health as part of the Fourth Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

The completion of the regional validation, which grouped Ghana’s 16 regions into four zones, to solicit input for drafting the report, prepares the way for the national validation, which is scheduled in two weeks, and for the final parallel report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Commission by July 14, 2022.

During the final validation workshop held in Accra, Ms. Esther Akua Gyamfi, Executive Secretary of National Council for Persons with Disability lauded MindFreedom and other pro-mental mental health stakeholders for coming out with an impressive report and promoting the rights of people with mental health and psychosocial disabilities in Ghana.

“I am impressed about the report, this is a good report, it is simple and detailed,” she said. “I must say MindFreedom and all the partners have done an excellent job in putting together this simple report, it is simple but very detailed, I must commend you for this.”

Ms Gyamfi also stated that efforts were being made to compile national data on individuals with disabilities in the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) scheme to guarantee that no one was left out of it and the disability common fund.

MindFreedom Ghana conducted the consultative meeting under a project called “Institutional strengthening and promotion of the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Mechanism.”

Mr Dan Taylor, Executive Secretary of MindFreedom Ghana, had said the engagement aimed to bolster the participation of psychosocial disability organisations in evaluating and reporting on the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities in the UPR.

It also encouraged public awareness of the numerous suggestions and advocacy for bettering human rights for people with psychosocial disorders.

The various sessions served as a springboard for more extensive discussions that resulted in the creation of a unified shadow draft report.

At the final validation workshop, Mr Taylor told the meeting attendance and engagement by participants in the zonal sessions were highly impressive and informative.

The draft report highlights several critical issues such as activities of the Ghana Mental Health Authority which also has a strong presence in the PWD Act 715 in promoting the rights of persons with mental health and psychosocial disorders.

For instance, the Mental Health Authority identified 1,075 traditional and faith-based healing centres in 2020, even though many more operate unregulated and whose operations typically violate mental health patients.

The UPR is a four-year process in which all 194 United Nations Member States analyse each country’s human rights status. Ghana’s human rights record has been evaluated under this system three times – in 2008, 2012, and 2017.

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