The Right to Decision-Making for Persons with Mental Disabilities in Uganda
State laws have in many instances constituted a hindrance to the enjoyment of rights of persons with disabilities, notable being the right to decision-making for persons with mental disabilities. Properly interpreted, the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) condemns the withdrawal of legal capacity merely based on disability. Not surprisingly, current discussions are inclined towards supported decision-making as opposed to substituted decision-making in as far as the rights of persons with mental disabilities are concerned. Regrettably, despite States’ cognisance of current international human rights standards and developments on issues of decision-making, the national laws of a number of States remain a huge disappointment to these developments. With Uganda being one of the first African countries to have ratified the UNCRPD, it could be reasonable to assume that this state is fully committed to breathing life to the values of the UNCRPD in as far as decision-making for persons with mental disabilities is concerned. But is this the case? In this article, we examine the legislative framework of Uganda with a view to assessing whether it advances the decision-making rights of persons with mental disabilities. We examine Uganda’s recently enacted Mental Health Act of 2018 to evaluate whether it addresses the gaps that have existed in Uganda’s legal regime for decades on issues of decision-making. The UNCRPD is used as a lens through which Uganda’s legislative framework is assessed.
Keywords: mental disability; decision-making; supported decision-making; substituted decision-making; Uganda; Mental Health Act; human rights.
Speculum Juris Volume 35