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34 Syracuse J. Int'l L. & Com. 405 (2006-2007)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Be Free from Nonconsensual Psychiatric Interventions

handle is hein.journals/sjilc34 and id is 409 raw text is: THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE
RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND THE
RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM NONCONSENSUAL
PSYCHIATRIC INTERVENTIONS
Tina Minkowitz*
It is the contention of this paper that forced psychiatric
interventions violate the    universal prohibition   of torture.    The
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) lays the
basis for this argument to be developed in a series of steps, starting from
its recognition of equal legal capacity and free and informed consent of
persons with disabilities, and equal right to respect for physical and
mental integrity, as well as the freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment. These obligations, contained in
Articles 12, 25, 17, and 15 respectively, will require immediate
cessation of forced psychiatric interventions. But there is a need to go
further, and examine the serious nature and consequences of forced
psychiatric interventions as a violent assault, in most cases sanctioned if
not perpetrated by the state, affecting every aspect of a person's life: the
body, the mind, the personality, the social relationships, and the spiritual
values or higher meaning. Based on an examination of these factors,
and the internationally accepted definitions of torture, I will argue for
recognition of forced psychiatric interventions as a grave violation of
human    rights, necessitating   criminalization  of  perpetrators  and
reparations for victims and survivors.
I.   INFORMED CONSENT
Article 25 of the CRPD requires States Parties to ensure that health
care is provided to persons with disabilities on the basis of free and
informed consent, on an equal basis with others.1
* Tina Minkowitz is one of the chairpersons of the World Network of Users and Survivors
of Psychiatry, and was a member of the U.N. Working Group that produced the first draft
text of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/ She served on the steering
committee of the International Disability Caucus and led its work on certain articles of the
Convention.
1. Article 25(d) reads:
[States Parties shall:] Require health professionals to provide care of the same
quality to persons with disabilities as to hers, including on the basis of free and
informed consent by, inter alia, raising awareness of the human rights, dignity,
autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the
promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care...
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, G.A. Res. 61/106, at 25(d), U.N.

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