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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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: 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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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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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: 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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