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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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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RESOURCE: Brochure on People with Intellectual Disabilities and Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 22 April 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Education, Families, Human Rights, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People with intellectual disabilities around the world face enormous challenges in realizing basic human rights such as access to education; legal capacity (the right to make their own decisions); the right to live with their families; and the right to live in the community–not an institution. The new disability rights treaty–the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–is designed in part to help with these challenges. The CRPD, which has now been ratified by 24 countries, will enter into force on May 3, 2008 simultaneously with the Optional Protocol, which has been ratified by 14 countries.

But how can people with intellectual disabilities and their families use the CRPD to achieve their human rights? And how can people who create and implement policy support their efforts? A new brochure from Inclusion International (PDF format, 585 Kb) provides guidance. The eight-page brochure summarizes how people with intellectual disabilities and their families around the world helped to create the CRPD; how the CRPD helps address some of their key human rights concerns; and the important role of families in guiding, developing, and implementing policies.

The English version of the brochure can be downloaded in PDF format (585 Kb) at:

http://inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/HearOurVoices-Priority%20Web.08.pdf

The Arabic version of the brochure (without pictures) can be downloaded in Word format (515 Kb) at:

http://inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/CRPD%20arab.doc



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

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PUBLICATION: Promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Posted on 26 February 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Children, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Inclusion, Policy & Legislation, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Rehabilitation International’s publication, International Rehabilitation Review, has published a special edition focused on promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). People with disabilities, advocates, disability experts, and human rights experts, all contributed 20 articles to the December 2007, 48-page edition.

The CRPD is the first comprehensive international legislation to focus on protecting the human rights of people with disabilities. It needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it will take full legal force; it has now been ratified by 17 countries.

Several of these articles celebrate the heavy involvement of the disability community and various disability and human rights organizations in promoting the CRPD. Other articles discuss the relevance of the CRPD to themes such as promoting inclusive education; including people with disabilities in programs to prevent HIV/AIDS; the importance of habilitation and rehabilitation to empowerment; and how the CRPD may help countries bring more people with disabilities into the work force.

Some more examples of articles included in the December 2007 issue of the International Rehabilitation Review include the following:

An article entitled “A Unified Disability Community: The Key to Effective Implementation of the Convention” by Maria Veronica Reina and Stefan Tromel highlights the importance of people with disabilities themselves being actively involved in ensuring that the CRPD actively protects the human rights of disabled people around the world.

Author Ann M. Veneman discusses the importance of children with disabilities in the CRPD in her article, “The UN Disability Rights Convention: Moving Children with Disabilities Center Stage.”

Of particular relevance to We Can Do readers in the international development field is the article “Toward Inclusive Development: The Implementation Challenge,” by Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo. This article calls for country governments and development organizations to incorporate the principles of the CRPD into their plans, programs, and policies, including those that fight poverty.

Anne Hawker and Sebenzile Matsebula discuss the importance of mobilizing women with disabilities to successfully implementing the CRPD in “Women with Disabilities: A Call to Action.”

In some countries, people with certain disabilities are denied the right to open their own bank account, or to say “no” to medical treatment that they don’t want. Article 12 of the CRPD can help, says Tina Minkowitz in her article, “Legal Capacity: Fundamental to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

Once the CRPD takes legal force, then what? Governments will need people with disabilities themselves to monitor how well the CRPD is implemented in their countries. The article “Interational Monitoring: The Right to Inclusion, The Obligation to Participate” by Kirsten Young and Shantha Rau, discusses how.

This special issue of Rehabiliation International’s International Rehabilitation Review can be downloaded in PDF format (1.8 Mb) at
http://www.riglobal.org/publications/RI_Review_2007_Dec_web.pdf

Or you can downlaod it in Word format (233 Kb) at
http://www.riglobal.org/publications/RI_Review_2007_Dec_WORDversion.doc



We Can Do learned about this special issue through RatifyNow.org‘s email discussion list. This article is cross-posted at the RatifyNow.org web site with permission of author. See the RatifyNow website for more information on the CRPD and the global movement to ratify and implement it.

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



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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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