Thursday, April 30, 2009
In Nigeria, it is legal for authorities to lock up people just because they are mentally ill even if they have no committed any crime or had committed such a trivial crime that they should not receive a prison sentence for it. However, in Nigeria they are being held in prisons in unsanitary and unacceptable condition only because they are mentally ill. This is no fault of theirs but one can blame it on their genes. They need to be put in mental hospitals and not in jails. That will not help the mental condition of any of the people if they are put in such conditions where there is no chance of them recovering or getting better. Treating them as prisoners and as people who have committed crimes is a human rights abuse. We often overlook human rights abuses like this and we don't think much of them. Can you imagine what a big issue it would have become if in America they imprisoned mentally ill people just because they were mentally ill and not because they had committed any crime or done anything wrong. That would just not be acceptable to anyone and human rights activists would be on the roads protesting. Why then in a third world country like Nigeria does this go unnoticed and unaddressed. How long will this go on for? When will such abuse stop? When will the third world countries citizen's be given the same type of rights that other citizens in the world have? I think it is very important to have each country accountable to a higher human rights authority that can deal with these issues of human rights abuses by authorities in all countries. At least that would make them accountable to someone.