253488 Equality framework emerging from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its implications for mental health treatment interventions

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez, JD , Open Society Foundations, Washington, DC
With widespread adherence to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)—which entered into force May 2008 and garnered over 100 ratifications, making it the most widely ratified treaty in the shortest amount of time—the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities (people diagnosed with mental illness), particularly their right to be treated without discrimination on an equal basis with others, is gaining global recognition. The CRPD ushers a paradigm shift in our approach to disability that is being felt around the world. While traditionally disability has been seen as a medical condition to be remedied or a social disadvantage worthy of charity, the CRPD conceptualizes rights violations at the core of the often pervasive isolation and segregation of persons with disabilities and translates them into enforceable rights. The individual no longer bears the responsibility of adapting to society; rather society must change—removing structural, communicational, and attitudinal barriers—to make full and meaningful participation by persons with disabilities possible. This paradigm shift has profound implications for mental health treatment interventions, from issues of psychiatric commitment linked with the right to liberty, to informed consent linked with the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, and the right to be recognized as a person before the law and have one's decision making respected and, where desired, supported. This presentation will introduce the emerging interpretations of the CRPD's human rights protections and their implications for rights-based mental health interventions.

Learning Areas:
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify areas where traditional mental health treatment interventions may need to be modified to comply with international human rights standards.

Keywords: International Health, Disability Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present as I have specialized in the field of mental health and human rights law for the past 10 years. I currently direct a global grant-making fund to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.