MindFreedom Ghana (MFGh), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), is advocating the promotion of mental health issues at all levels of the society.
Mr Dan Taylor, the Executive-Secretary, said unfortunately, issues concerning psychosocial disabilities tended to be swept under the carpet, with little attention being given to such topics.
“It should not be business as usual, because of the repercussions associated with mental disorders,” he cautioned and called for regular stakeholder engagement to protect and promote the rights of mental patients.
Mr Taylor, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), at Abuakwa in the Atwima-Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti Region, in an interview, on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ meeting, decried the stigma associated with mental diseases.
He said in-country consultations were evidently skewed unfavourably towards mental health issues and participation of organizations with such interest, aggravating the already helpless situation of mental patients.
Data available at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, he said, pointed to the fact that only one psychosocial disability organisation participated in the reporting and submission of alternative reports on the human rights conditions of mental health in the third cycle.
The stakeholders’ meeting brought together various civil society organisations (CSOs) for a validation session on the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.
The idea was to draft a shadow report on Ghana’s human rights situation on persons with psychosocial disability and discuss mental health and psychosocial disabilities.
It had the objective of improving the assessment and increase in recommendations of Ghana’s compliance to human rights obligations on psychosocial disabilities.
The meeting was a follow-up to the consultative meeting held in January, this year, to help conclude discussions on the Shadow Report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on July 14.
Giving an overview of the project, MrTaylor said the engagement sought to increase the participation of psychosocial disability organisations in assessing and reporting on the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities in the UPR.
It was also to promote media awareness on the number of recommendations and advocacy for improving human rights for persons with psychosocial disabilities.
The UPR process was established in 2006, following the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251, and this has since become a major international mechanism for monitoring and reporting State Parties’ compliance to universal human right.
It has further encouraged non-state actors like the NGOs and CSOs to participate in advocacy, monitoring and reporting on States’ human right performance.
The project is being funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Ghana’s Human Rights record has been reviewed three times by the Human Rights Council in 2008, 2012 and 2017.