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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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).



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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