Implement Order On Mentally Ill, PWDs Tell Government

1350 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that dehumanizing names for people with mental illness should be removed from the law books.

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) want government to immediately implement orders of the Constitutional Court on people with mental illness. 

The court on Friday ruled that names used for such people like idiots, criminal lunatics or imbeciles should be removed from the law books.

The court also ordered that such people in detention should be released to get treatment in health facilities.
Ibrahim Nsereko, programme officer at the Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) says over 45 mentally ill persons are languishing in different prisons across the country.
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The Programme Officer at National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda (NUDIPU), Ester Kyozila, says the ruling should push government to take action to protect people with mental disability.

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Angela Nsimbi of Heart Sounds Uganda, a group of organisations which provide mental health services, says the ruling will eliminate the stigma that mentally ill persons have been undergoing.

The court ordered that names like idiots, criminal lunatics or imbeciles used in section 45(5) of the Penal Code Act  and in section 82 (6) of the Trial of Indictment Act, should now be replaced with polite words like persons with mental illness.

The verdict of the court arose from a petition filed in January 2012 when rehabilitated victims, alongside the civil society group, Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) sued the government demanding that it changes its reference to mentally ill people.


About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.