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  • Human Rights Research Center

UN Urges Ghana to End Shackling of Persons with Mental Health Conditions

February 8, 2023

Photo: Two men with a real or perceived mental health condition held by a chain around their ankle at Mount Horeb Prayer Centre in the Eastern Region in Ghana. [Image credit: © 2022 Shantha Rau Barriga/Human Rights Watch]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch


HRRC supports the United Nations and Human Rights Watch in urging the Ghana government to take action and end the practice of shackling. People with mental health conditions should be protected, support and mental health services expanded, and the community educated about the various illnesses and disabilities to ensure the safety of these individuals, as well as the end of stigma and discrimination.


Article Summary


Following recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Council during their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in late January 2023, the UN urge Ghana to end the practice of shackling. This inhumane treatment of people with mental health conditions arose out of inadequate mental health support and services, as well as deeply rooted stigma about those who have mental health issues. Many of these individuals are shackled inside "prayer camps" and have lack of food, poor hygiene, and the inability to move.


Human Rights Watch published recommendations in July 2022 and a report in November 2022 regarding the grave human rights abuses happening in Ghana. In their report, 60 people were shackled in cages, including small children, and allegations of rape were made by a woman they interviewed in the camp. While Ghana adopted the 2012 Mental Health Act a decade ago, education about mental health conditions and protection of those afflicted has not been successful in ending the practice of shackling.

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