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:

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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