Friday, March 4, 2011

Disability rights in Kenya: "Locked up and Forgotten"

I don't remember the last time I watched a more disturbing documentary. "Locked Up and Forgotten" is a documentary by David Mckenzie, CNN Correspondant based in Nairobi, Kenya. The documentary shines light on the sorry-state of disability rights, precisely the rights of Kenya's mentality ill.

I must warn you - "Locked up and Forgotten" is hard to watch. Below is Part I of the documentary:

From the above video clip, it's evident that Kenya's mentally ill are literally locked up and forgotten.

Ironically, Kenya ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - a convention that promotes and protects the rights of disabled persons, on 19 May 2008.

The state has violated it's obligations to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities as laid down in the Convention. The government should cooperate with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) - which checks implementation of the Convention - to ensure that the rights and dignity of mentally ill persons under its jurisdiction are restored.

Unfortunately, Kenya is not a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which gives individuals the power to submit complaints to the CRPD. Thus, people of good conscience have their hands tied since the CRPD does not have the power to receive individual complaints "from or on behalf of" victims of violations of disability rights in Kenya.

Watch Part II and Part III of "Locked Up and Forgotten."

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