Ghana’s Dark Secret —
People with disabilities in Ghana suffer extreme breaches of their human rights, despite supposed protection under both Ghanaian and International law and the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2012). Across the country the cause of disability is widely believed to result from spiritual illness and as a result the majority of the estimated 5 million disabled adults and children often suffer inhumane, degrading and cruel treatment by those who claim to be able to heal disability through ‘spiritual practices’. Spiritual and religious healers offer expensive cures for all manner of disabilities. In reality these ‘cures’ often amount to chaining, starving or torturing adults and children on an institutional level.
Spiritual Camps across Ghana keep people against their will under the guise of healing or curing any spiritual sickness for financial gain; this will include people without medically proven mental or physical illness. Babies born with a disability are often neglected, abandoned or reportedly taken to a Fetish Priest who will poison and drown the infant in a common ritual intended to return, ‘the spirit child’ to the gods. In addition to this, the stigma attached to disability results in the confinement of many mentally or physically disabled people within rural communities. Across the country a lack of equipment and access means many physically disabled people are without education and employment, housing and healthcare are difficult to attain.