Psychiatric Disabilities

International Day of Mourning and Remembrance: Institutionalized Lives of People with Disabilities–Forgotten Lives and the Ones Who Fight Back

Posted on 23 January 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Blogger Dave Hingsburger is trying to make today, January 23, the first of what he wants to be an annual event in which we remember together people with disabilities who have lived in institutions and, in some cases, died in them.  Another blogger, Amanda Baggs, has also written extensively about her own experiences inside places that others label as “institutions”–and also some places that weren’t labeled “institutions” but were just as bad: I encourage readers to read today’s post at her blog, “What Makes Institutions Bad.”   Today, in Dave’s proposal, is meant to be a day to remember the people that we were meant to forget: people placed in institutions, not to help them, but to isolate them from so-called “normal” people.  And, it is meant to remember people who have been “put away” supposedly for “their own good,” people who others think “cannot live in the community” as if being human were not enough to qualify one to live among other humans.  It is meant to mourn the lives that people with disabilities could have led if they had been allowed to live in their own homes and allowed choice and self autonomy.  It is important to emphasize that the day is meant not only to consider people institutionalized years ago, in a time we think we can safely forget because we assume it belongs only in the past.   It is also meant to consider the millions of people worldwide, in both developing and also developed countries, who continue to be institutionalized today due to no crime other than being different, being someone who others has labeled as “disabled.”

Dave also means this day as a day to celebrate people with disabilities who have fought back against the mentality that strives to push them to the margins of society, making it easier to institutionalize them.  In this context, Dave Hingsburger mentions a woman named Sandra Jensen who fought literally for her life when she was initially denied a heart transplant simply because she had Down Syndrome.  Sandra, already a disability rights advocate, fought back and won her transplant in 1996–and also won change in organ transplant policies in Canada.  In addition to individuals Sandra Jensen, I can also think of certain organizations that work hard to promote de-institutionalization and other closely related causes:  Disability Rights International (DRI), ADAPT, MindFreedom International, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), various chapters of People First worldwide, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and others.   I have probably missed many other organizations that are also devoted to ending institutionalization: feel free to mention them in the comments area below.

If these organizations don’t choose to carry forth Dave’s proposal, or if these international and national bodies like the concept but choose a different date or take the idea in a different direction, then Dave’s International Day might well still catch on at some local organizations scattered throughout Canada, US, the UK, and Australia.  Dave, after all, has been in the field of intellectual disability and disability rights for more than 30 years: he has delivered hundreds (possibly thousands) of lectures around the world, his blog reaches thousands more readers every month, and some of his many books are required reading in some training programs for future service providers who will be working with people with disabilities.  Dave is certainly not without some clout and influence all on his own.   But without the support of large and highly visible organizations, his concept could remain a relatively obscure event known only in certain circles in certain cities in, predominantly, English speaking developed countries.  It will spread only slowly, if at all, to non-English speaking countries or to developing countries.

Also critical to the success of this event in the future is the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its member organizations.  IDA, as many of We Can Do’s more regular readers probably already know, is a major umbrella organization for various international disability organizations that include WNUSP (listed above), the Disabled Peoples’ International (an organization run by people with various disabilities, with national assembly members in more than 100 countries), Inclusion International (representing people with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones), World Federation of the Deaf, World Blind Union, and others.  Each of IDA’s member organizations themselves have many more member organizations in dozens of countries around the world, and many of these in turn have member organizations at the local level in their countries.  If some of these organizations adopt Dave’s idea, then many more organizations around the world would surely also pick it up as well–whether their local language is English, Spanish, French, or something else, whether in developed countries or in developing countries.

Is this day an event that should catch on more widely?  I hesitate to issue a firm position on this issue.  I do feel that it is worthwhile to have some kind of event that could prompt us, not only to mourn people who would otherwise be forgotten, and to celebrate people who have promoted the cause of freedom, but also to take some action that could help set free the many people who are still institutionalized against their will today.  For this reason I do like Dave’s general concept and feel it is worthwhile putting it in front of the readers of We Can Do for their consideration.  But I also feel that the issue of how to frame such an event, how to promote it, what activities should be done to acknowledge it, and what date it should be held on, should ultimately be determined by people who have themselves experienced institutionalization, or been threatened with the possibility.  People with intellectual disabilities who are confined because they learn more slowly than others.  People with psychosocial disabilities and people on the autistic spectrum who are confined because others view their behaviors as “bewildering” and would rather not have to see them at all than try to understand.  People with mobility impairments, and people who are acquiring a range of conditions related to old age, who are institutionalized because government legislation, budgeting policies, and the medical profession make it easier to place them in nursing homes than to get support to continue living at home.  People who are deaf, or blind, who may be mistaken for having other disabilities, or who others may assume are incapable of learning or being independent because they cannot hear or see.  Organizations such as People First, WNUSP, MindFreedom, ASAN, ADAPT, and other international and national organizations run by people who themselves are most commonly targeted for being institutionalized come to mind.  I think this is a choice that needs the involvement of many advocates and leaders around the world, not just one man–even a powerful leader like Dave Hingsburger.  And not just one woman either, including me as the author of this blog site.

For now, readers may want to read a few blog posts that Dave wrote about what today’s date means to him and why he feels it is important to have an International Day of Mourning and Remembrance:

January 23: International Day of Mourning and Memory in which Dave first sets forth his proposal.  Note that he seems open to revising the concept, or at least the name, for future years.

Cousin Mattie: The International Day of Mourning and Memory — Dave’s post from today, January 23, honoring the day itself.

She Never Knew: The Interviews — in which Dave presents an interview he conducted with a woman who performed a song that Dave feels fits in well with the spirit of the International Day.

I also encourage readers to consider taking a few moments–or a few hours, or days–to learn more about the reality of institutionalization today and what is being done to end it.  A few of the links from above are good resources.   Disability Rights International (DRI) has a huge collection of reports and videos documenting institutionalized abuses from around the world, from Ukraine to Mexico to the United States to Romania to Paraguay and elsewhere.  Many People First organizations fight against the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities.  The Global Disability Rights Library has content and links related to institutionalization of people with disabilities–particularly try the information portal of the same name (Global Disability Rights Library) and check under specific disabilities for psychosocial disabilities and intellectual disabilities.  Also in the same information portal, check the section on Independent Living for some of the solutions that allow people with mobility impairments and a range of other disabilities live freely in the community instead of in nursing homes (the link goes to GDRL’s primary page on independent living, but don’t miss the sub-sections under this page with more resources).  And check out some of the personal stories on MindFreedom’s website.

A blog post on institutionalization from me would be incomplete without also mentioning another blogger besides Dave Hingsburger who has taught me a great deal about what it really means to be institutionalized:  Amanda Baggs.  Amanda has herself been institutionalized: although most of her experience in places others would recognize as institutions was in the 1990s, she still knows people who have been institutionalized much more recently than that.  And she has had experiences in places that, although technically are not institutions, can be harmful in ways she feels is very similar.  Amanda’s entire blog is very well worth reading: I regularly encourage people interested in disability rights to read her blog front to back, or back to front, or inside out, or outside in, or sideways or upside down or right side up or any way at all as long as they read it, throughly and often.  Both Amanda and Dave are in developed countries (the United States and Canada, respectively) and I suspect most of their contacts and most of what they have learned about disability rights is also somewhat oriented to developed countries as well.  But many of the concepts that both of them wrestle with day in and day out on their blog sites and elsewhere, much of the philosophy they espouse, the values they uphold, and their insightful analysis of how even very lovely, good, kind people can still do terrible things are not bound to any one country.  I suspect that disability rights advocates from any country, whether developed or developing, will find ideas of value both in Dave’s blog and in Amanda’s blog.

Here are a few of Amanda’s blog posts that have helped teach me about what it is actually like to be inside an institution, or in an environment that is harmful in similar ways:

What Makes Institutions Bad (today’s post)

Outposts in Our Heads

Everything I Need to Know in Life I learned in Institutions

Identical Behavior, Constrasting Responses

What it Means to Be Real  (These events were at a day program, not technically at an institution. But apparently much of the way people in the program is treated is similar)

Being an Unperson (Not specifically about institutionalization, but the process of dehumanization described in this video does occur in many institutions)

And one more from Dave, from the perspective of a person who once worked in institutions early in his career:

Patty  — In this video (deaf and hard of hearing people can read the full transcript below the video) Dave describes an incident in which he reached out to Patty, a woman in the institution where he worked, and the reactions of his co-workers.

At least one more blogger has also blogged about this day: International Day of Mourning and Memory at Lounalune.  And one individual, Kristine Snider, sent Dave a video in honor of the day.

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Challenges Implementing Disability Rights Treaty?

Posted on 17 May 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Human Rights, Networking Opportunities, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Abdul-Jeff Maalik Makana, the Executive Director of MindFreedom Kenya, wants to learn more about the challenges that other countries experience in implementing the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Below is his appeal for information. Please respond directly to him at kenya@mindfreedom.org.

Dear All,

Greetings from non sunny Nairobi day today!

We have a challenge here in Kenya advocating for the implementation of the UN CRPD. Are other states experiencing similar challenges? What are the challenges?

I recently on a media appearence to create awareness about the work of MindFreedom Kenya & advocating for the implementation of the UN CRPD… one caller to the show reinforced the general view that persons with psychosocial disabilities have no capacity at any time to make decision (Legal capacity) though the UN CRPD guarantees legal capacity(article 12) or even supported decision making.

To quote Daniel Hazen—Human Rights and Advocacy “cease the practice of exceptionalism when it comes to human rights” meaning we cannot downplay the CRPD which is a very important rallying point for our movement.

Mental Health (MH) policies cannot be written in a vacuum…. State parties and other stakeholders should get direction that adopting certain articles of the CRPD versus the CRPD in its entirety has far reaching consequences more so article 12 (right to legal capacity) a big part of the user/survivor movement advocacy.

Lastly, why was the term psychosocial disabled adopted in the UN CRPD versus the term mentally disabled or mentally ill? Here in Africa many don’t see mental illness as a disability? Can you please help me understand how to advocate better for psychosocial disabled term to be adopted and accepted locally.

What are your views:

I am doing a Survey on supporting signing/ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by state parties without reservations.

This obligation would require that the States both refrain from actions that undermine the principles and initiate efforts which would promote them. You can also e-mail your comments directly to kenya@mindfreedom.org
Question:

As a user, a survivor. mental health worker, or human rights activist in mental health do you support the position that the CRPD is non negotiable, and that the nature of this commitment obligates state parties to completely review MH policies and legislation which relied on flawed WHO MI Principles? *

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cnR3dTlrTGFGRjFXY3g2YWhvTUJESUE6MA..

A few sampling of responses collected regarding the above question:

This obligation would require that the States both refrain from actions that undermine the principles and initiate efforts which would promote them.(MH Policy, legislation’s, new MH laws, civic education, more access to mental services at the community level, empowering of persons with psychosocial disabilities to participate equally in society without being discriminated based on disabilities).

Absolutely I support it!! Recently there have been reports that they are opening “behavioral” units in nursing homes in New York State–a way to lock us up again quietly so there won’t be too many complaints. Fortunately we noticed and… Read More now there’s a lawsuit. Good thing so many of us “suffer” from hypervigelance!! Anyway, so good to see that we’re coming together internationally. We can and will find our power no matter how hard the system tried to hold us down.

I am not sure that I can ask for the UN treaty to become nationalized, but I do agree with many of the tenets. I think that I can see where some conflicts of interest might be involved. So better person by person, not this group or that. That is what I think….

With kind regards,

Abdul-Jeff Maalik Makana

__________________________________
Abdul Maalik bin Ali formerly,
Jeff Makana

Executive Director,
MindFreedom Kenya(MF-K)
E-mail:kenya@mindfreedom.org
website: http://www.mindfreedomkenya.interconnection.org
Follow me on twitter@ www.twitter.com/Jeffmakana



Thank you to Abdul Maalik bin Ali for submitting this announcement for publication at We Can Do.

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NEWS: Bulgarians with Mental Disabilities Suffer Inhumane Treatment

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Geneva, 3 December 2008

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) come together to express their serious concern over the situation of persons with mental disabilities, one of the most marginalised and discriminated groups in Bulgarian society.

In a series of letters to members of the Bulgarian Parliament and Government, officials and elected representatives in the European Union, and the United Nations Special Procedures mandate holders, the three organisations underline that persons with mental disabilities in Bulgaria, “frequently face social exclusion and severe human rights violations, including violence and ill-treatment”, and express their concern that, “[i]nadequate legislation together with entrenched institutional policies and practices also compromise their socio-economic well-being, as well as that of their families”.

Regardless of the skills and capabilities which persons with mental disabilities in Bulgaria possess, they are often deemed incompetent, deprived of their legal capacity and placed under guardianship. Bulgaria’s outdated legislation on deprivation of legal capacity removes a person’s right to make their own decisions and denies the exercise of their basic human rights, including the rights to marry, vote, work, take legal action and seek judicial remedies. Deprivation of a person’s legal capacity also impedes their rights to a fair trial, to own property and to respect for their personal and family life. In most cases, persons with mental disabilities who are placed under guardianship in Bulgaria are forced to live in large and remote residential institutions and to remain there for the rest of their lives. Once institutionalised, they are at risk of ill-treatment from staff and subjected to prison-like regimes. Indeed, living conditions in some of these institutions have been deemed to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Please read the rest of this news release from the World Organization Against Torture at their web site by clicking on the following URL: http://www.omct.org/index.php?id=&lang=eng&actualPageNumber=1&articleId=8204&itemAdmin=article

I received this press release via several sources including the IDA_CRPD_Forum listserver; the AdHoc_IDC listserver; the RatifyNow organization’s listserver; and others. Only the first two paragraphs is quoted here. Please follow the link provided above to read the full story.

Note that “mental disabilities” is often used to refer to both people with intellectual disabilities and also people with psychosocial disabilities. Although these are very different disabilities, both populations in many countries are frequently locked up in the same institutions and may experience similar types of human rights violations.

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CONFERENCE: World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry General Assembly, Kamapala, Uganda,

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Note a limited number of scholarships for conference participants from developing or low-income countries.]

Dear all,

If you are a user or survivor of psychiatry (a person who has experienced madness or mental health problems, or who has used or survived mental health services), you are welcome to join the WNUSP General Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, March 16-20, 2009.

If you are not a user or survivor yourself but would like to support WNUSP, please help WNUSP to connect with users and survivors in your country or region by forwarding them this email or introducing them to a member of the WNUSP board.

Thanks to everyone in the disability community for their solidarity.

Best wishes,
Tina Minkowitz

WNUSP GA – REGISTER NOW!!!
World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

http://www.wnusp.net/

• • • WNUSP-News • • •

ANNOUNCEMENT: JANUARY 2009

Dear WNUSP Friends,

This edition of WNUSP news features the Final Announcement for our General Assembly and World Conference.

Final Invitation – Third Announcement
REGISTER NOW!!! Making our Rights a Reality Human Rights in the Age of the CRPD WNUSP General Assembly and Conference, March 16-20 2009, Kampala, Uganda WNUSP has the pleasure to invite you to it’s third general assembly and conference in Kampala, Uganda. After Vancouver, Canada in 2001, Vejle, Denmark in 2004, we are happy to hold our assembly in Africa for the first time and thank our hosts Mental Health Uganda. Delegates from WNUSP member organisations are invited to attend the conference and GA. The conference is open to users and survivors of psychiatry from all regions of the world. Priority will be given to members. If you have not yet joined but are interested in becoming a member, please do so when registering for the conference. All participants who are able to do so, are asked to contribute at least 100 US $ (150 US $) to the overall conference costs. Those who can afford more are kindly asked to contribute 250 US $ or donate even more money in order to enable us to support the participation of delegates from poorer regions. Please register as soon as possible, if you are interested.

Only people from poorer countries can apply for scholarships. We are committed to making this conference as inclusive as possible and will do our best to support scholarships for users and survivors from low income countries. We will only be able to support traveling costs for a limited number of participants (see the attached document). Please use every means you have to raise funds for their participation. Participants have to cover their own travel costs. Participants from developed countries are asked to organise their travel plans themselves. If you have already registered and can fund your own travel costs, you can book your tickets now. If you have any possibility to support WNUSP and MHU with funding the general assembly or contribute to travel costs for other participants, please let us know.

Please register quickly since participation is limited. You can register via the WNUSP website. www.wnusp.net. Registration for the conference is now possible via the WNUSP website. For more information on the conference, follow the link to http://wnusp.rafus.dk/wnusp-general-assembly-and-conference-2009.html

MEMBERS’ NEWS NOTICE
The WNUSP Newsletter aims to present the global struggles and achievements of users and survivors of psychiatry. We invite all members of the WNUSP to write in, sharing your views and giving news about your activities. News reports must be in English, brief (250 words) and giving your name and contact details. You may also submit ideas or proposals for articles to be considered for publication in the newsletter. Write to the Editor, WNUSP-News at newsletter@wnusp.net

Moosa Salie,
Facilitator WNUSP newsletter
Co-Chair WNUSP
Secretary PANUSP

WNUSP-News mailing list
WNUSP-News@oism.info
http://mail.oism.info/mailman/listinfo/wnusp-news_oism.info

Information to consider when applying for a scholarship

Scholarships will be allocated to WNUSP affiliated organizations and individual members to send delegates to the GA based on the following criteria.

• Only a limited number of scholarships will be available

• You only qualify to apply if you live in the Global South, which includes some Arab states (non oil producing), certain agreed upon Eastern European countries, India and other developing Asian and Pacific-rim countries, all of Africa, Latin and Central America.

• Preference will be given to invited speakers from the Global South in allocating scholarships

• Due consideration will be given to a balance in gender and regional representation when deciding on allocating scholarships.

• Applying for a scholarship does not automatically guarantee receiving it. Applicants will be assessed on their potential to add value to the proceedings of the General Assembly and furthering the work of the WNUSP.

• The decisions of the GA organizing committee regarding the allocation of scholarships cannot be queried afterwards.

Conference information at: http://wnusp.rafus.dk/wnusp-general-assembly-and-conference-2009.html



I received this conference announcement via the IDA_CRPD_Forum email discussion group.

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PAPER: Disability and Contraception in Developing Countries

Posted on 24 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Health, Mobility Impariments, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Doctors, social workers, neighbors, and even family members often mistakenly assume that people with disabilities cannot possibly be interested in sex. Or if they are, others believe they cannot physically participate. Or if they can, others think that no one would want to have sex with them. Because of these myths, people with disabilities are often deliberately excluded from sex education programs and reproductive care services. These include contraception to prevent pregnancy, as well as support for people with disabilities who wish to bear and raise healthy, happy children.

The fact is, a great many people with a wide range of disabilities are capable of having children and desire the rewards that can come with parenthood. And many become excellent parents who raise well-adjusted children. But they often lack family planning services that allow them to make their own choices about how many children to have and when to have them. This may be partly because even family planners who understand the need and importance of counseling for people with disabilities may not know how.

Although people with physical disabilities frequently can and do have children, the nature of some physical disabilities may sometimes affect what kind of contraceptions they can use or how to use them. An article published in 1999 by Family Health International’s journal Network, entitled Disabled Have Many Contraceptive Needs, explains how some physical disabilities, or the medications taken for them, may affect the kinds of contraceptions they are able to use. Family planning professionals may consult this article at http://www.fhi.org/en/rh/pubs/network/v19_2/disableneeds.htm

People with mild intellectual disabilities, and also people with psychosocial disabilities, are often as interested in sexuality as the general population. They also may in some cases wish to have children. Both intellectual disabilities and psychosocial disabilities may affect how well contraceptive options or instructions are understood, or how well they may follow instructions. Another article entitled Mental Disabilities Affect Method Options” discusses various examples of how family planning professionals can account for these factors. This article, also published in 1999, can be read at http://www.fhi.org/en/RH/Pubs/Network/v19_2/mentaldisab.htm



I learned about these articles through a class I’m taking on Gender, Disability and Development this semester. Thanks, Barbara Earth!

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RESOURCE: MindFreedom Kenya Promotes Mental Health Rights

Posted on 18 December 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

MindFreedom Kenya is an affiliate of MindFreedom International, formed in response to identified gaps in mental health rights, lack of adequate information about substance abuse and impact to society and those directly affected. Since its inception, MindFreedom Kenya has endeavored to develop efforts to transform and diversify the marginalized and the most vulnerable-persons with psychosocial disabilities.

It helps users and survivors to be involved in care planning and making informed decisions about their care and upholding of human rights, advocating inhumane treatment and creating awareness about substance abuse and psychosocial disabilities.

For users and survivors of psychiatry, one of the most important things about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is that it says we have an equal right to legal capacity, which is the right to make our own decisions; and the right to free and informed consent in health care; and that we should not be deprived of liberty based on disability – which means that governments are violating this treaty if they lock us up in psychiatric institutions and do forced treatment. They also have positive obligations, to provide support and services needed to live in the community, and to provide access to support in exercising legal capacity if the person wants this support. Support in exercising legal capacity is the opposite of guardianship, because it means the person is in control of her/his own decisions and chooses the kind of help that she/he wants.

MindFreedom Kenya aim is to influence policy and planning, and to encourage improvements in the management and delivery of mental health services.

Ø Policy makers acknowledging the need and strongly pursuing mental health policies that positively impact their constituents and calling for revision of existing mental policies to match today’s complex and changing mental health care.
Ø Leaders in health profession, professional associations, mental health boards and health care companies to take a leading role in initiatives that increase access, quality and equity. On the same note, they must be able to establish a mental health advisory council independent from government that works collaboratively with policy makers. This mental health advisory council will create a mental health reform blueprints with support and input from both public and private health care sectors. The mental health advisory council along and/with sponsoring policy makers will ensure that such mental health policies are passed, implemented and delivered.
Ø Human Right organizations must recognize equity, access and quality of mental health care is a basic human right and they must take initiatives that will harness just distribution, fair and favorable policies and practically implementable mental health rights processes.
Ø Humanitarian Organizations involved in health care, WHO (World Health Org.) and UN (United Nations) to continue supporting mental health locally made policies and initiatives that are practical to the social realities of the people who need equal representation against abuses within the mental health system.

Regards,
Jeff Makana
kenya@mindfreedom.org
[Addendum, March 23, 2009: MindFreedom Kenya has a new website of its own at http://www.mindfreedomkenya.interconnection.org/

People also can learn about the organization at Jeff Makana’s blog at www.erucall.com.



Thank you to Jeff Makana for permission to post this information at We Can Do.

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UN Terms Forced Psychiatric Treatment Torture–Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Welcomes Report

Posted on 3 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Human Rights, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Note from We Can Do: The following press release from the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry refers to a recent Interim Report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. For more information on that report, or to download a copy, go to http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disability/torture.htm and also go to http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/disability/index.htm.]

Date: September 24, 2008

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry welcomes the Interim Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) welcomes the Interim Report by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, which signals an end to impunity for psychiatric torture and ill treatment. The report focuses attention on torture and persons with disabilities, applying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the obligations of states to prevent and punish torture.

The Special Rapporteur names forced psychiatric interventions (such as psychosurgery, electroshock and administration of mind-altering drugs including neuroleptics) among practices that may constitute torture or ill treatment. Other medical practices that may constitute torture or ill treatment are restraint and seclusion, forced abortion or sterilization and involuntary commitment to psychiatric institutions. The medical context itself is one where “serious violations and discrimination against persons with disabilities may be masked as ‘good intentions’ on the part of health care professionals.”

In his conclusions, the Special Rapporteur calls on states to ratify and implement the Convention and its Optional Protocol, to legislate recognition of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities and ensure that support in decision-making is provided where needed, and to issue guidelines on free and informed consent in line with the Convention. He calls for independent human rights monitoring of institutions where persons with disabilities may reside, and for UN and regional human rights mechanisms to take account of the Convention and integrate its standards into their work.

“This development is significant for several reasons,” said Tina Minkowitz, founder of CHRUSP. “It makes explicit what the Convention had left implicit: that forced psychiatric treatment is a serious violation of human rights, even when done with the best intentions. States that do not make the necessary reforms to eliminate forced treatment and institutionalization and to respect the legal capacity of persons with disabilities may run afoul of their obligations to effectively stop torture and ill treatment. The report gives us new tools for legal advocacy and redress of violations, in states that have ratified the CRPD and in those that have not yet ratified.”

**** END ****

About the Center for Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP):

The purpose of the organization is to work for full legal capacity, an end to forced psychiatric treatment, and equality and advancement for users and survivors of psychiatry within a human rights framework.
The aims of the organization are to:
• Advocate for the advancement of the human rights of users and survivors of psychiatry.
• Provide international consultation to influence key decision-makers regarding matters that affect users and survivors.
• Develop model legislation focusing on legal capacity and free and informed consent.
• Facilitate sharing of information and knowledge among user / survivor organizations around the world
• Monitor progress on human rights instruments including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with respect to issues affecting users and survivors of psychiatry



This press release was recently circulated on the IDA_CRPD_Forum email discussion group.

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FUNDING: Campaigns to Ratify, Implement Disability Rights Treaty (CRPD)

Posted on 1 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are you a disability rights advocate working in a developing country? Is your organization trying to persuade your country’s government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Or, has your country already ratified the CRPD–and you are now working on making sure the CRPD is fully implemented, so that all people with disabilities in your country have their rights respected and protected? Do you need funding support?

The grantmaking foundation, Open Society Institute, has now established the Disability Rights Initiative that supports the efforts of disability rights advocates working on ratification and implementation of the CRPD around the world. The initiative gives priority to efforts promoting the rights of people with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities. However, OSI is willing to support a range of programs and projects that advance the CRPD.

Learn more detail about this funding opportunity and how to apply for it at:

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/special/focus/disability/grants

This is an on-going funding opportunity.

Please note that all inquiries and funding applications should be directed to the Open Society Institute, NOT We Can Do.

Advocates working on issues related to implementing the CRPD in developing countries will also want to keep checking the Disability Rights Fund web site for announcements of future, additional funding opportunities there. The application deadline for their first round of grants passed in August 2008, but they will be offering more funding grants to more countries in the future. Also check the resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website for links to more possible funding sources in general.

New to the CRPD? Learn more about this international, legally-binding human rights treaty that protects the human rights of people with disabilities around the world at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/



Thank you to Diana Samarasan for alerting me to the OSI funding opportunity.

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RESOURCE: Guidelines on Mental Health in Emergency Situations

Posted on 24 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Natural disasters and conflicts can threaten people’s ability to survive. The most urgent need is usually to bring them food, water, shelter, and other basic services. But emergency situations also can be traumatizing. Even people who did not have any psycho-social disabilities before the emergency may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. And people who already had psycho-social disabilities may be at higher risk during emergencies. Professionals in the humanitarian field increasingly recognize the need to address these challenges in the weeks and months following the start of an emergency situation.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) has released the “IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings,” (PDF format, 831 Kb) which offers suggestions for how professionals can better coordinate services across multiple sectors and agencies to meet the mental health needs of people in emergency settings.

This 99-page publication points out that most mental health services during these situations are very fragmented and poorly coordinated. Some efforts may simply duplicate services already offered without improving upon them. Meanwhile, some dire needs may be overlooked entirely. The answer, they say, is for more agencies, humanitarian organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop working in isolation and start coordinating efforts with other agencies working in the same location.

They emphasize, “Implementation of the guidelines requires extensive collaboration among various humanitarian actors: no single community or agency is expected to have the capacity to implement all necessary minimum responses in the midst of an emergency” (IASC Guidelines, p. 7).

The guide’s inclusion of issues specific to people with existing psycho-social disabilities, including people in institutions, is good to see. People with psycho-social disabilities generally tend to be perhaps the most overlooked among people with disabilities, and people who are forced into institutions are even more forgotten and abandoned by society.

It is disappointing, however, that the guide, at least in my cursory glance at it, did not seem to have more than superficial references to the mental health needs of people who might have physical or sensory disabilities, either with or without additional psycho-social disabilities. This was a missed opportunity to point out, for example, that deaf people may need sign language interpreters or other communication assistance to fully participate in “talk” related services (support groups, etc.). Or that natural disasters, war, and other emergencies can themselves cause new disabilities–and that people may struggle in the first few months afterwards to adjust, psychologically and socially, to their new situation. Or that people who happen to have both a psycho-social disability and also a physical or sensory disability may have been excluded from mental health services even before the emergency–and should not be overlooked during and after.

But, for people concerned with the mental health needs of all people during emergency situations, this guide may serve as a starting point in thinking how to coordinate broader efforts in addressing them. They can download the guide (PDF format, 831 Kb) at:

http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/content/products/docs/Guidelines%20IASC%20Mental%20Health%20Psychosocial.pdf

People interested in the needs of people with disabilities during emergency situations in general might also be interested in the following prior blog posts at We Can Do:

And do also become familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which, among other things, obligates the countries that ratify it to protect the safety of people with disabilities during humanitarian emergencies (see Article 11 of the CRPD).



We Can Do learned about this guide via the email discussion group for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development.

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Advocacy Organization Exposes Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital

Posted on 25 August 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From Mental Disability Rights International Newsletter:

MDRI Exposes Deaths and Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital and Demands Immediate Government Action

August 13, 2008 – Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) and the Center for Justice in International Law (CEJIL) have filed a successful appeal to stop egregious abuses being perpetrated against people at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Paraguay.

In a petition filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), MDRI described a pattern of abuse, including four unexplained deaths, numerous complaints of sexual abuse and horrific physical abuse, including a castration, all within the past six months.

On July 29, the IACHR called on the Paraguayan government to take immediate action to protect the lives of all those detained at the facility and to report back to them on measures taken to prevent future abuses.

In 2003, the IACHR approved MDRI and CEJIL’s request for immediate intervention at the same hospital following the discovery of children, diagnosed with autism, locked in cages for years. On the heels of this intervention, the Paraguayan government signed an agreement with MDRI and CEJIL to gradually deinstitutionalize its mental health system while expanding the services and supports available in the community.

“Paraguay’s mental health system continues to systematically violate the rights of persons who use its services,” said Alison A. Hillman, Director of MDRI’s Americas Programs. “We anticipate that the Inter-American Commission’s intervention will bring added pressure on the government to address the root causes of these abuses and fulfill their commitments to fully integrate persons with disabilities into the community.”

MDRI is an advocacy organization that exposes human rights abuses against people with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities around the world, particularly within institutions. Learn more about MDRI and their activities at their web site: http://www.mdri.org



This notice was recently circulated via email in MDRI’s electronic newsletter. Individuals may subscribe directly to MDRI’s newsletter by entering their email address at http://www.mdri.org/mdri-enews.html

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CONFERENCE: 2nd Intl Forum of the Deaf in Morocco on Mental Health

Posted on 11 June 2008. Filed under: Call for Nominations or Applications, Deaf, Events and Conferences, Middle East and North Africa, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The 2nd international Forum of the Deaf

The 2nd International Forum of the Deaf in Morocco is an initiative that aims to promote: Mental Health awareness among the medical core and the deaf community of Morocco. The establishment of  a national policy to investigate the linguistic, social, mental health, and physical needs of the deaf; for the purpose of developing a cohesive network for the implantation of programs to benefit the unification of the deaf community in Morocco. Subsequently, it will promote contact, participation and cooperation among deaf associations.
 
This Forum is entitled “Mental health and deafness” which will be held in the city of Fez, in order to better educate the population on the issues facing the deaf community.  In accordance with the royal directives, and the initiative of human development, The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association, The Africa Contact Group For Mental Health and Deafness and the World Federation of the Deaf are organizing a Forum of the deaf of Morocco from October 9th to 11th 2008.  45 deaf associations with two delegates (1 deaf and 1 hearing) and 120 specialized educators representing all of Morocco national territories will be invited to attend the forum. The forum of the Deaf of Morocco will comprise of three major themes: Mental Health and deafness, Education and academic qualification, and Sign language.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf is engaged in a number of campaigns to raise the standard of living of the deaf in Morocco. There is a growing public interest in the use of sign language in the various social domains where the deaf are involved. These include courts of law, educational institutions, police stations, and other various places of work. An outstanding example of this association’s dedication for the empowerment of the deaf are a special education training for educators May 2008, a SL training for police officers March 2008 and two summer youth camps for the deaf that were held in Rabat August 2006 and Salé August 2007.  These camps gave the deaf youth of Morocco a chance to interact with one another and to build life long friendships.  As well as, the first steps in building cooperation and participation among deaf associations in Morocco.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS), is looking for organizations to help them organize the second international forum of the deaf in Fez.

The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is a non-governmental organization that strives to address the needs of the entire community, including the deaf youth of Morocco. Its membership consists of over 20 professionals from the city and surrounding areas of the province who have come together to pool their resources and labor in order to help develop the deaf community. The association was incorporated in 2006 under the laws of Morocco with the goal of helping to develop the social and economic roles of the deaf in the larger society. They are led by elected officers, including: a president, treasurer, secretary and vice president, who are chosen each year at an annual meeting.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is nonprofit and raises money for projects through donations from members, grants, and donations from local, national and international government, and non-government organizations. The group has received various awards and certificates of recognition from the government in advancing the status of the deaf.

The association established The First International Forum of the Deaf of Morocco in 2006 in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation Marokkofonds.  The forum was an instrumental opportunity to promote deaf issues in Morocco and International.  This association has also
been advocating the nationwide adoption of sign language as the medium of instruction in all deaf schools and training institutions.

Furthermore, they lobby the Moroccan government of the challenges facing the deaf community.  Finally, this association developed and implemented deaf youth summer camps in association with the Ministry of Sports and Youth.
 
The successful projects led by The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) have illustrated the need to develop deaf awareness, and networking skills to overcome the limited opportunities for the deaf community within the Moroccan society as a whole. The members of The Moroccan
Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) approaches international institutions with the idea of organizing a group of deaf associations and helping them develop these specific skills, with an end goal of enabling them to advance from their current social and economic situation.

Expected outcomes

  • Meadows of 200 thousand deaf persons together with the Moroccan medical core will be sensitized on the mental health and human right of the deaf issues.
  • Implementing awareness raising projects.
  • Deaf empowerment.
  • Training in special education and sign language
  • Establishing a wide range of contacts.

Methodology
 The statistics of 200 thousand deaf persons usually expose a big number of the deaf to the means of specific communication of the handicapped and the non-implication of the handicapped in the programs or fight projects against the sexually transmittable diseases.

 After the difficulties proven by this category of the handicapped the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association takes advantage of this occasion to initiate a campaign of sensitization on the deaf problems, with the assistance of the interpreters in signs. It will also target the medical core and the Moroccan administrations to explain through the different international experts the importance of mental health and deafness.
 
The proposed forum will focus on many of the aforementioned elements in a professional sitting.  A subcommittee of Moroccan facilitators, French facilitators, and other Volunteers will focus on planning programs, while other members of the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf will concentrate on administrative elements of the forum. In implementing both of these as well as cultural activities, the forum will meet the aforementioned objectives.
 
Economic and Social Exchange:

  • Presentations on management methods for the purposes of developing and implementing projects will be presented.
  • Presentation on education and vocational training.
  • Presentation on sign language in the media.
  • Presentations on the need for a unified signing language for the purpose of educational and social development of the deaf will be presented.
  • Exhibition of handcrafted products made by the deaf will be on display.
  • Associations of the deaf will perform musical concert and theatrical presentations daily.

Workshops

  • Mental health and Deafness
  • Education and vocational training
  • Sign language linguistics

If you have any questions related to the conference please feel free to contact :

Mr. Abdelaziz Arssi- Project Director 
Tel/SMS : 0021262102415
Fax:0021235601651
Mail: fmsourds@gmail.com 

Mr. Mohammed DDich -Program Manager
Tel/SMS:0021266511034
Mail:fmsourds@gmail.com

Mr.Rachid El Ouardi- Finance Manager
Tel/SMS: 0021262216863
Mail: fmsourds@gmail.com 

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue facing the deaf community of Morocco. 



We Can Do received this announcement via the AdHoc_IDC listserv. People interested in the conference should please contact one of the organizers directly, not We Can Do. (Note their phone numbers and email address given above.)

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TRAINING: International Diploma in Mental Health Law, Human Rights

Posted on 8 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced the first ever one-year International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights. The new academic program will launch in October 2008 in Pune, India, and is the result of a collaborative effort between the Indian Law Society Law College and WHO Mental Health Improvements for Nations Development (MIND). Based on WHO materials and tools, the program is meant to enhance student understanding of international human rights standards and mechanisms to protect the rights of people with mental disabilities and provide them with the skills to apply this knowledge in their own national contexts.

This program is particularly relevant in light of the new international disability rights treaty–the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–that will be entering into force on May 3, 2008.

To be eligible for the new International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights, students should have a degree from any recognized university in any of the following subjects: law, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, other social sciences, or other natural sciences.

Alternately, people who use mental health services, and caretakers, are also encouraged to pursue the diploma program so they can become effective advocates for change. These candidates can be eligible with graduate qualification in any discipline from a recognized university.

The application deadline is June 15, 2008 in order to be considered for entering with the first class of students in October 2008.

UPDATE, July 2, 2008: it has been confirmed that another course will be offered in the year 2009. People who have missed the deadline to apply for the 2008 course should monitor the website for the International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights directly for updates, deadlines, and other details relating to subsequent courses.

Students may apply on line. Tuition for international students will be $7000 in US dollars. Prospective students should follow the link to the website for the diploma program for information on the availability of scholarship options. As of July 2008, their website indicates that limited scholarships are available primarily for people in India.

Learn more about the program via their web site at:

http://www.mentalhealthlaw.in/index.html

Inquiries about the program should please be directed to the Indian Law Society College, not to We Can Do.



We Can Do first learned about this program via the Disabled Peoples International e-newsletter. Further details was collected at the web site for the Diploma program.

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Read the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008 on the International Disability Rights Treaty!

Posted on 29 March 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From Australia … from the USA … from India … from New Zealand … from Fiji … from the Philippines …

Writers and bloggers from around the world joined together to help celebrate and promote the first legally binding international human rights instrument to protect the rights of people with disabilities — the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

They celebrated by writing blog posts for the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, which can now be read at
http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

What did they write about? Some of the topics include …

… The story of one advocate who watched the birth of the CRPD among grassroots advocates with disabilities and others in the 1990s …
… How the CRPD could deliver new hope for people in India with mental disabilities …
… How the CRPD represents an evolution from the charity/medical model of disability to the social or human rights-based model …
… How the CRPD could make travel go a little more smoothly for tourists with disabilities …
… Why the CRPD matters for people who use personal assistance services or who are seeking the freedom to explore their own sexual expression …
… An allegorical tale about farmers, spoons, and plows: Why the CRPD is well worth celebrating and why our work isn’t done just because the CRPD is about to take full legal force …
… And more …

All at the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, and all available by following the link to:

http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

Celebrate and learn about the CRPD through the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008.

Then invite other people to do the same. Please circulate this notice or post it at your blog or web site — with, of course, a link to the blog swarm at

http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

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RESOURCE: Implementing the Disability Rights Treaty, for Users, Survivors of Psychiatry

Posted on 19 March 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) has released a manual that can guide users in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with people who have used or survived psychiatry.

People with all types of disabilities may experience human rights violations at one time or another. People who have used or survived psychiatric services, however, may be particular targets for certain types of violations. For example, they may be more commonly denied the right to make their own choices about accepting or refusing medical care or entering the hospital. They may be required to take certain drugs or submit to other treatments even if they hold the strong opinion that the potentially harmful side effects outweigh the benefits.

WNUSP’s implementation manual highlights aspects of the interational disability rights treaty (CRPD) that are particularly relevant to users and survivors of psychiatry. These include the areas of legal capacity, liberty, right to live in the community, freedom from forced psychiatric interventions, and the right to participate in enforcing the CRPD.

The manual also explains relevant terminology. For example, the CRPD uses the term “people with mental impairments” to refer to people with mental health problems, or who have mental disabilities, or who have used or survived psychiatry. This term was chosen with WNUSP’s agreement during the process of negotiating the international disability rights treaty. However, WNUSP prefers the use of the phrase “psychosocial disability.”

WNUSP’s manual explains and summarizes each article of the CRPD, with particular attention to its relevance for people with psychosocial disabilities. The manual also makes recommendations for how to address common concerns that governments and others may express about certain aspects of the CRPD as they apply to people with psychosocial disabilities. It describes an array of alternate approaches to healing, treatment, or supporting people in making and expressing their own choices that have been used in various countries. The manual ends with an explanation of how user/survivor organizations can be involved with monitoring the implementation of the CRPD.

Learn more about WNUSP’s implementation manual for the CRPD, or download it in Word format (289 Kb), at:

http://www.wnusp.net/UnitedNations_MMtmp03630c55/UnitedNationsConventionfortheRightsofPersonswithDisabilities.htm



We Can Do first learned about WNUSP’s implementation manual for the CRPD via the Disabled People’s International email newsletter. Further detail was obtained from the manual itself.

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PUBLICATION: Feb Issue UN Enable Newsletter

Posted on 28 February 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The second monthly issue of United Nation’s Enable Newsletter has now been released. The initial launch of this newsletter was announced at We Can Do last month.

A sampling of headlines for the February issue is listed below, except that I have modified them to spell out most acronyms. To read the full stories (usually one or two paragraphs each), consult the February issue of the Enable Newsletter at http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=312

  • UN Commission Renews Mandate for Special Rapporteur and Agrees on Mainstreaming Disability in Development.
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Makes New Commitment to Disability
  • World Bank and Organizaiton for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Conduct Joint Effort for the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals 2 & 3. [We Can Do note, for those new to international development: the Millennium Development Goals are a set of targets agreed upon by country governments and development agencies for reducing global poverty and improving global health; more information at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
  • World Bank Psycho-Social Listserv is Open for Sign-Up at http://go.worldbank.org/SIP5GYWK00
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) to Produce Advocacy Kit on Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities
  • Ratification Talk in Serbia
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Raises Awareness in the Maldives
  • Sharing Experiences on Best Practices in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Services for Persons with Disabilities
  • Identifying Concrete Actions in Mozambique Towards Implementation of the Convention
  • Atlas: Global Resources for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (Atlas-ID) (We Can Do note: The launch of this Atlas also was announced at We Can Do).
  • United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Moscow Hosts Discussion on Persons with Disabilities

The February issue of the Enable Newsletter also lists several publications and upcoming events. You can read the January or February issue for free. Or you can sign up for a free subscription to receive each month’s newsletter via email, for free. All available at:

http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=312



Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).



Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.



This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere else, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people.

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NEWS: World Federation for Mental Health Endorses Intl Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 17 February 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , |

World Federation for Mental Health

MEMBER ASSEMBLY ENDORSES UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The WFMH Member Assembly, meeting in Hong Kong SAR China on August 20, 2007, endorsed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and urged national governments throughout the world to embrace and implement the provisions of the Convention.

(To view the full text of the Convention and other important information, visit http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=3D150)

The Resolution adopted by the WFMH Member Assembly, as submitted by its Voting Member organization Mental Health America (USA), reads as follows:

WHEREAS the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus on December 13, 2006, a landmark treaty to promote and protect the rights of the world’s 650 million people with disabilities;

and

WHEREAS mental impairments are explicitly included in the treaty and are among the most prevalent and most disabling of all health conditions;

and

WHEREAS the U N Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will require ratifying nations “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity” and promote awareness of the capabilities of those who are disabled

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the World Federation for Mental Health support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

http://wfmh.com/00policyrights.htm



The original text for this press release is at http://wfmh.com/00policyrights.htm; We Can Do first saw it on the AdHoc_IDC mailing list, which focuses on human rights issues among people with disabilities.

Learn more about the World Federation for Mental Health at http://wfmh.com/.



Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.



Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).



This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (https://wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.

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NEWS: The Law Has Been Instrument of Our Oppression, Says Disability Advocate

Posted on 13 February 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People with psychosocial disabilities have been quick to embrace the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). One of them is David Stolper, a South African advocate for the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities.

Stolper, says, “The whole world looks at our constitution in South Africa and sees it as the most progressive one for the rights of all people, but we in mental health have been totally marginalized.” Stolper, who has been institutionalized in both the United Kingdom and also in South Africa, terms himself a “psychiatric survivor.”

Of the CRPD, he says, “I think it gives us a legal framework and something on paper that will be binding that is a dramatic shift from what we have had before. There has always seemed to be some kind of barbaric tool to control us. The law has been an instrument of our oppression. The convention says that it is time that the government and people around us drop this notion that we cannot think for ourselves.”

We Can Do readers can read a full-length interview with David Stolper about his perspectives on the CRPD at the web site for the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities:

http://www.africandecade.org/reads/articles/legalcapacityarticle/view

The interview also was published in the newsletter Human Rights Africa, 2007, Issue 2 (PDF format, 1.8 Mb). Human Rights Africa focuses on issues relevant to human rights for persons with disabilities in Africa.

Past issues of Human Rights Africa are available in both English and French in both PDF and Word format at:

http://www.africandecade.org/humanrightsafrica



We Can Do learned of this article through the Disabled People International (DPI) newsletter.



Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.



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NEWS: Christian Blind Mission Now for All Disabilities

Posted on 6 January 2008. Filed under: Blind, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Education, Mobility Impariments, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Christian Blind Mission has announced that they will now serve people with all disabilities, not only people with vision impairments. Until now, the century-old organization also known as Christoffel Blinden Mission and now officially named cbm, has focused its efforts on preventing and treating blindness and on providing education and rehabilitation services for people with vision impairment.

“The organization has decided that its purpose and work is to improve the quality of life of all persons with disability, which includes those with hearing or physical impairment and mental ill health as well as those with visual loss,” says CBM president, Prof. Allen Foster.

CBM has also issued a new motto: “Together we can do more.” The word “together” is meant to emphasize the importance of partnership, particularly with organizations in low-income countries and with mainstream development organizations. The phrase “we can” is meant to emphasize ability over disability. And “do more” is meant to challenge the fact that the majority of people with disabilities in developing nations do not receive the medical, educational, and rehabilitation services they need.

CBM works with more than 700 partners in more than 100 countries to serve more than 18 million people with disabilities.

More detail can be found at:

http://www.cbmicanada.org/news_viewer.asp?news_id=138



Thank you to Ghulam Nabi Nazimani for helping alert me to this news.



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News at Your Fingertips

Posted on 30 December 2007. Filed under: autism, Blind, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Employment, Families, Funding, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Inclusion, Introduction to "We Can Do", Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Women |

I have now added a page to the top navigation bar, News, that consolidates all the news and press releases posted at We Can Do since this blog began.

I mostly cribbed this new page from the work I did recently for the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some). However, if you compare the two, you will see that there are more items listed under the “News” page in the top navigation bar than there are in the Retrospective post. That’s because, when I wrote the Retrospective post, I made a rule with myself that each We Can Do post would be listed only once, even if it arguably belonged in more than one category. Some of the “news” items reported new resources that might still be helpful for readers months or years from now. So I listed those items under “Resources” in the Retrospective post instead of news. But for the “News” page in the navigation bar, I made sure to include anything that was tagged as “news” when it was first posted.

I will try to keep the “News” page up to date. You will notice that it already includes one news item that has gone up since the Retrospective post.



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We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some)

Posted on 22 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, autism, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Fellowships & Scholarships, Funding, Guest Blogger, Health, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Inclusion, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Skip introduction, go straight to the Table of Contents

If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.

Top of this page


Table of Contents

Table of Contents; Top of this page

About We Can Do

To learn more about the purpose of We Can Do, see About We Can Do. For more on its guiding philosophy, go to Why We Can Do.

Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.

Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.

I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.

Table of Contents; Top of this page

The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts

The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.

Table of Contents; Top of this page

The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts

Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:

Table of Contents; Top of this page

Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations

Finding organizations; Resources for inclusive development; Human rights resources; Case studies; Other helpful resources

Finding organizations
Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.

Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.

There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.

Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

Resources for Inclusive Development
Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:

Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:

  • Read the CRPD “translated” into plain English.
  • UNICEF has developed a child-friendly version of the CRPD to help children understand disability rights
  • Disabled People International offers two toolkits on ratifying and implementing the CRPD for disability advocates who want to help ensure that all disabled people have their human rights recognized.
  • A handbook on disability rights targeted at parliamentarians can help parliamentarians, people who work in close contact with government agencies, and disability advocates in general, better understand the CRPD.
  • The United Nations’ new web site, UN Enable, is one of the best, and most official, places to find information on the CRPD.
  • Handicap International has produced its own Teaching Kit on the CRPD.
  • The International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA) has issued Equalize It! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation that expresses their position on how to ensure disability equality in the international development field.
  • Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Case Studies
    Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net.

    But for now, here are two case studies:

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Other Helpful Resources

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research

    Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
    Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:

    Information on people with disabilities
    Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Funding Sources

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Academic Papers

    We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    News

    September 2007; October 2007; November 2007; Early December 2007

    September 2007
    At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    October 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Early December 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Opinion Pieces

    So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.

    Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)

    You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    International Conferences and Events

    Looking for a conference to attend? Here are a few upcoming events:
    January 2008; February 2008; March 2008; April 2008; May 2008; August 2008; September 2008; November 2008

    January 2008
    The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    February 2008

  • The Disabilities Initiatives in Development Seminar, also in Bangladesh also in February 2008.
  • One for all: Persons with Disabilities Initiative in Development, again in Bangladesh in February 2008.
  • The International Centre for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK is holding a conference on sign language research in the UK in February 2008.
  • A conference on the deaf community, sign languages, social issues, civil rights, and creativity will be held on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • The Techshare India 2008 Conference on accessibility will be held in New Delhi, India, in February 2008.
  • Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    March 2008
    The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    April 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    May 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    August 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    September 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2008
    The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities

    We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at www.idealist.org. But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Education and Training Opportunities

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Opportunities

    Missed call for papers; Missed training opportunities; Missed job, internship, and volunteer opportunities; Missed events and conferences

    Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Call for Papers
    The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.

    Also browse through the listing of upcoming conferences and missed conferences.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Training Opportunities

    In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
    Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Event and Conference Opportunities

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    What’s Next for We Can Do?

    I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.

    I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.

    If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at https://wecando.wordpress.com. If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] patriot.net). And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.

    For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

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    NEWS: Human Rights Abuses of Disabled Children, Adults in Serbia

    Posted on 17 November 2007. Filed under: Blind, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

    MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL

    Embargoed Until November 14th, 2007

    Contact: Laurie Ahern – 202.361.1402
    Eric Rosenthal – 202.361.9195
    Email: Lahern@mdri.org
    Email: Erosenthal@mdri.org

    HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ACCUSES SERBIA OF TORTURE AND ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES

    Belgrade, Serbia – November 14, 2007 – Following a four year investigation, Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) released its findings today in a report detailing the human rights abuses perpetrated against children and adults in Serbia with disabilities, forced to live out their lives in institutions. Torment not Treatment: Serbia’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities describes children and adults tied to beds or never allowed to leave their cribs – some for years at a time. In addition, filthy conditions, contagious diseases, lack of medical care, rehabilitation and judicial oversight renders placement in a Serbian institution life threatening for both children and adults. The children and adults had a range of disabilities including Downs Syndrome, deafness, visual impairment, autism, and mobility impairments.

    “These are Serbia’s most vulnerable citizens. Thousands confined to institutions are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and abuse. Children and adults tied down and restrained over a lifetime is dangerous and painful treatment tantamount to torture – clear violations of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Attorney Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director of MDRI and an expert on human rights law.

    “We call on the government of Serbia to stop these abuses immediately and to respect the human rights of all people with disabilities,” concluded Rosenthal.

    For more information visit www.mdri.org, where you can download a copy of the full report in PDF format, videos, and photos. The video footage does not have captions available. As a deaf person, I found that if you read the executive summary of the report and look at some of the photos before viewing the video then most of the images in the video speak for themselves. I’m guessing that there is probably no audio description for blind people; as a sighted deaf person, I’m afraid I’m not in a position to judge how much sense the video will make without it. Readers who are deaf or blind–or who support their interests–may wish to contact MDRI to encourage them to make their video materials available with both captions and audio description.

    MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. We Can Do published an earlier press release from MDRI reporting on similar human rights abuses in Argentina; the Argentina report, entitled Ruined Lives, can still be downloaded from the front page of the MDRI web site (scroll down the page). More reports about human rights abuses of people with disabilities in Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Kosovo, Russia, and Hungary can be downloaded in PDF format from http://www.mdri.org/publications/index.htm

    Most of the text of this blog post comes from the MDRI press release, which can be retrieved at www.mdri.org.


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    UPCOMING Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Book

    Posted on 9 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    I have now been informed that the editors for this book are NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW SUBMISSIONS. This notice is left in place for informational purposes ONLY, and so that people can seek out the book after it is published.

    WAS Recruiting chapter authors for a new book
    Estimated Completion Date: August 2009
    [Again, please note that the date for author applications has now passed and all desired authors have been selected.]

    Book title: Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: Creating a Trauma Membrane for Individuals and Communities and Restructuring Lives after Trauma

    WAS Recruiting for these chapters:

    1. Survival stabilization: This chapter covers the dynamics of providing physical sustenance, medical assistance, and housing to individuals after a conflict situation.
    2. Psychological stabilization and crisis intervention: This chapter contains short-term interventions that can be used in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, as well as interventions that are appropriate for several weeks following the crisis. Denial of trauma will be covered in this chapter.
    3. Physical rehabilitation: This chapter outlines the basic principles of physical rehabilitation, and the current trends and techniques that are used in developed and developing countries.
    4. Psychological rehabilitation for veterans: This chapter addresses acute, conflict-related mental health issues, such as combat stress reactions, grief reactions, and Acute Stress Disorder. Psychological services offered near the front line are explained.
    5. Psychological rehabilitation for civilians: This chapter details acute, post-conflict mental health issues from the civilian side, which may include terrorization from military sources. Thus, grief reactions, Acute Stress Disorder, and other psychological reactions to acute stress will be discussed.
    6. Trends in coping with trauma: This chapter will review the empirical literature published on coping with traumatic events. This includes gender-related differences in coping with trauma, and distinctions between veterans and civilians.
    7. Social reconstruction and economic stabilization: Processes are discussed by which governments and NGOs formulate plans, rebuild infrastructures, and develop resources.
    8. Political and social rehabilitation: This chapter focuses on how inter-group tensions are stabilized and healed after treaties are signed and the war or conflict stops (i.e., community-level interventions).

    Contact:
    Erin Martz, Ph.D. (Editor), Assistant professor, 119D Patterson Hall, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152 USA

    As of September 23, 2008, I have been informed that authors are no longer needed for this endeavor.


    We Can Do received this announcement via the email distribution list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (<a href=”GPDD mailing list“>GPDD). However, neither We Can Do nor GPDD are associated with this publication endeavor. Although it is no longer possible for authors to offer their writing skills, people interested in the topic may wish to keep their eyes open for the release of this book after August 2009.


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    Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

    Other Resources at We Can Do
    Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

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    Please Submit YOUR Materials to We Can Do

    Posted on 7 November 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Funding, Guest Blogger, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Uncategorized, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Currently, We Can Do gathers news; announcements; academic papers; case studies; opinion pieces; information about resources; and other materials of interest to disabled advocates and international development professionals from a wide range of sources. In addition to these, from time to time, I write fresh content of my own.

    I also hope to be able to depend heavily on YOU–We Can Do readers–for some of the best, most interesting, and helpful materials. Examples of materials that would interest me include, but are not limited to: “best practice” case studies; “failed practice” case studies; checklists; fundraising advice or resources; other pragmatic resources; academic papers or reports; student projects; press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation bar.

    If you can assist with my current top priority, or with any of the other items in my “wish list”, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot net or leave a short note in the comment area below and I’ll contact you.

    Current Top Priority for We Can Do

    Are you from Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, or Panama? If so, were you involved with the movement to persuade your government to sign and ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so PLEASE CONTACT ME (ashettle at patriot dot net, or leave a comment below with your email address).

    I want to interview people involved with these movements (via email) so I can write a story describing what strategies you used; any barriers you faced along the way; how you overcame these barriers; any mistakes you made, how you corrected them, and how other countries can avoid them; what activities or techniques you think were the most critical to your success; and so forth. Sharing this type of information at We Can Do–and elsewhere–could be immensely helpful to disability movements in other countries that are working toward the same goals.

    My primary written language is English, pero puedo escribir y leer, mas o menos, en espanol tambien. (Lo siento para la mala ortografia–no se como crear acentos en WordPress.) Once we are in contact, I will probably have many questions for you–and follow up questions after that!

    Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.

    Edited to Add: I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses:

    My username is: ashettle

    Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@

    My email domain is patriot.net

    Put it all together and you have my email address.

    Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch.


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    NEWS: Human Rights Violations of Argentines with Psychosocial, Mental Disabilities

    Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    SEGREGATED FROM SOCIETY IN ATROCIOUS CONDITIONS – ARGENTINA’S MENTAL
    HEALTH SYSTEM VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

    WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2007— Argentina is among countries with the most psychiatrists per capita in the world—yet people detained in the country’s public psychiatric institutions are subject to serious human rights violations. Ruined Lives, an investigative report released today by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)and the Argentine human rights organization Center for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), finds that 25,000 people are locked away in Argentina’s institutions, segregated from society, many for a lifetime and with no possibility of ever getting out.

    Ruined Lives exposes widespread abuse and neglect in these institutions, including people burning to death in isolation cells, complete sensory deprivation in long-term isolation, forced sterilization and sexual and physical abuse. In one psychiatric penal ward in Buenos Aires, men were locked naked in tiny, barren isolation cells with no light or ventilation for months at a time. At another institution, four people died while locked in isolation cells. Toilets overflowed with excrement and floors were flooded with urine.

    Investigators found a 16 year-old boy in a crib, his arms and legs tied to his body with strips of cloth, completely immobilized. Staff said he had been tied up since being admitted to the institution more than a year before.

    “Argentina’s mental health system detains people on a massive scale without any legal protections,” said Eric Rosenthal, MDRI’s ExecutiveDirector. “The inhumane and degrading treatment we observed is banned by international human rights treaties and should not be tolerated in any society.”

    MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities world wide. For more information, visit www.mdri.org.

    CELS is an Argentine organization devoted to fostering and protecting human rights and strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.cels.org.ar.

    The report and photographs can be downloaded from the MDRI web site in either English or Spanish.

    MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL
    1156 15th St NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
    Phone: (202) 296-0800, Fax: (202) 728-3053
    E-mail: mdri@mdri.org
    http://www.mdri.org

    This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI</a).


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    NEWS: Researching Mental Health in Developing Countries

    Posted on 15 October 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    This press release is taken from the Global Forum for Health Research web site.

    PRESS RELEASE Geneva, 10 October 2007– Mental and neurological disorders are responsible for 13% of the global burden of disease. In addition, more than half of the 10 leading risk factors that cause one third of premature deaths worldwide have behavioural determinants, such as unsafe sex, tobacco or alcohol consumption, etc. Despite this evidence, mental health is a neglected and an under researched area of public health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

    On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the Global Forum for Health Research is pleased to launch the following electronic publication:

    Research capacity for mental health in low- and middle-income countries: Results of a mapping project

    Pratap Sharan, Itzhak Levav, Sylvie Olifson, Andrés de Francisco and Shekhar Saxena (eds.) Geneva, World Health Organization and Global Forum for Health Research, 2007 (www.globalforumhealth.org)

    Download full-text PDF (146 p.): www.globalforumhealth.org/filesupld/MentalHealthRC/MHRC_FullText.pdf or see
    http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/en/

    The printed publication will be launched at Forum 11, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 29 October to 2 November 2007 (www.globalforumhealth.org).

    This report provides an account of the current status of mental health research in 114 LMICs of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The scale of the study makes it the first systematic attempt to confirm the pressing needs of improving research capacity in mental health. Thus, the report enables evidence-based decision-making in funding and priority setting in the area of mental health research in LMICs. It strongly requests all policy-makers, programme managers, and funders of research for health, at national and global levels, to place mental health high on their agendas.

    A total of 4633 mental health researchers and 3829 decision-makers, university administrators and association workers working in the field of mental health were identified:
    • Half of the countries mapped had only five or fewer mental health researchers.
    • Fifty-seven per cent of the 114 LMICs were found to contribute fewer than five articles to the international mental health indexed literature for a 10-year period (1993–2003), while very few articles could be identified from non-indexed sources in almost 70% of the countries, suggesting a paucity of researchers and mental health research in many LMICs.
    • Some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa contributed significantly to international mental health publications – a finding that attests to notable variations in mental health research production within as well as across regions.

    The main reasons for this paucity of mental health research identified in the study are the many demands faced by clinicians and academics in a context characterized by poor funding, a lack of trained personnel, little infrastructural support, and a paucity of research networks, in institutions which mostly lacked a research culture.

    The survey results showed broad agreement among researchers and other mental health related stakeholders, and across regions, regarding priorities for mental health research in LMICs. Epidemiological studies of burden and risk factors, health system research, and social science research were the highest ranked types of needed research. Depression/anxiety, substance use disorders, and psychoses were identified as the top three priority disorders, while prioritized population groups were children and adolescents, women, and persons exposed to violence/trauma. The most important criteria for prioritizing research were burden of disease, social justice, and availability of funds, although researchers and other stakeholders differed markedly regarding the importance of personal interest of researchers as a criterion for prioritizing research.

    These findings highlight the need to review and strengthen the management of mental health research so that it meets the national needs of LMICs as well as contributes to the global fund of knowledge. Governments and other institutions in LMICs should devise mechanisms to allocate greater funds to research, capacity and infrastructure strengthening. Although some examples of research impacting policy and practice are available, in general there is little interface between research and policy. There is a need for organizations to bridge the gap between policy and research by sensitizing researchers about the usefulness of involving other stakeholders in their research and sensitizing stakeholders about the importance of good mental health research.

    “This report highlights the weak research structures and the lack of connection between mental health decision-makers and researchers in LMICs. It gives nine key recommendations for the development of research for action.”
    Professor Lars Jacobsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umea University, Sweden

    Principal Investigators: Carla Gallo, Oye Gureje, Exaltacion E Lamberte, Jair de Jesus Mari, Guido Mazzotti (deceased), Vikram Patel, Leslie Swartz–ENDS

    ____________________________________________________________

    For additional information or interviews, contact Sylvie Olifson T +41 22 791 1667 sylvie.olifson@globalforumhealth.org or Shekhar Saxena T +41 22 791 3625 saxenas@who.int


    If you have been to We Can Do before then you may have noticed that this blog has a new appearance and structure. How do you like it? Do you find it easy (or hard) to find the information you’re looking for? Any other feedback on how to improve the We Can Do blog in general? Whether you’re a new-comer or repeat visitor, please share your thoughts in the comments area at the post where I describe We Can Do’s new look or email me at ashettle at patriot dot net.

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    The WHO MIND Project: Psychosocial, Psychiatric Disabilities

    Posted on 6 October 2007. Filed under: News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has unvieled a project meant to improve the access to, and quality of, treatments available for psychosocial (psychiatric) disabilities such as depression or schizophrenia and neurological disorders such as epilepsy in developing nations.

    Psychosocial disabilities and neurological disorders can make it harder for people living in poverty to earn a living and create better futures for themselves and their families.  In addition to the challenges presented by their differences, people with psychosocial or neurological disabilities must also face stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations.   The new WHO Mental Health Improvements for Nations Development (MIND) project is meant to help people overcome these barriers so that people with psychiatric and neurological disabilities can participate more fully in society.  The new web site is at:

    http://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/en/


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