7. Psychiatric hospitals


In 2008 the WHO Mental Health Poverty Project issued a sharp critique of Zambia:

People with mental disabilities [in psychiatric facilities in Zambia] experience some of the harshest conditions of living that exist in any society – akin to the way children – or worse, animals – are treated. Much of the hardship experienced by people with mental disabilities was beating, isolation and deprivation of liberty for prolonged periods of time without legal process. In a number of circumstances these people are subjected to peonage [involuntary servitude] and forced labour in institutions. In addition, they are subjected to neglect in harsh institutional environments and deprived of basic health care and they are victimized by physical abuse and exposed to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.103

This section of the report sets out MDAC and MHUNZA’s investigation of the formal mental health system in Zambia, through the lens of international human rights law.

103 Jason Mwanza et al., “Mental Health Policy Development and Implementation in Zambia: A situation analysis”, 59–60, 30 March 2008, supra note 71.

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