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Mental health and human rights : Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
January 2017

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"The present report, mandated by the Human Rights Council in resolution 32/18, identifies some of the major challenges faced by users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities. These include stigma and discrimination, violations of economic, social and other rights and the denial of autonomy and legal capacity.

In the report, the High Commissioner recommends a number of policy shifts, which would support the full realisation of the human rights of those populations, such as the systematic inclusion of human rights in policy and the recognition of the individual’s autonomy, agency and dignity. Such changes cover measures to improve the quality of mental health service delivery, to put an end to involuntary treatment and institutionalisation and to create a legal and policy environment that is conducive to the realisation of the human rights of persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities"

A/HRC/34/32

Human Rights Council, Thirty-fourth session, 27 February-24 March 2017

Statement to mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

DEVANDAS-AGUILAR, Catalina
December 2016

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"It is time to move from law to practice in the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities

GENEVA (13 December 2016) – A United Nations human rights expert has urged States to redouble their efforts to end the marginalization of persons with disabilities, in a statement marking the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, said much work remained to be tackled, 10 years after the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006"

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (theme: access to rights-based support for persons with disabilities)

DEVANDAS, Catalina
December 2016

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In her report, the Special Rapporteur provides an overview of the activities undertaken in 2016, as well as a thematic study on access to support by persons with disabilities. The study includes guidance for States on how to ensure the provision of different forms of rights-based support and assistance for persons with disabilities, in consultation with them. In preparing the study, the Special Rapporteur convened a regional expert consultation in Addis Ababa in September 2016 and analysed the responses to a questionnaire sent to Member States, national human rights institutions, agencies of the United Nations system, civil society organisations and persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. As at 5 December 2016, she had received 114 responses. 

Statements from the 2016 Social Forum

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSONNER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
October 2016

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The 2016 Social Forum took place from 3 to 5 October 2016 in Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, in accordance with paragraph 6 of Human Rights Council resolution 29/19 entitled “The Social Forum.”

 

The Social Forum is an annual three-day meeting convened by the Human Rights Council. It is a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society actors, representatives of Member States, and intergovernmental organizations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year.

 

The theme of the 2016 session of the Social Forum was the promotion and full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities in the context of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

 

Among other human rights concerns, statistics show that around fifty per cent of persons with disabilities cannot afford appropriate health care; and they are more likely to be unemployed than persons without disabilities. Persons with disabilities have, on average, worse living conditions and less participation rates in public affairs than other groups. 

 

Realizing the right to development of persons with disabilities requires the adoption of a human rights-based approach to disability which respects their active, free and meaningful participation in development, the fair distribution of resulting benefits, and their inclusion in society on an equal basis with others. States parties to the CRPD have agreed to cooperate internationally, including through making development cooperation inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities (Article 32 CRPD). The Social Forum provides an inclusive platform to continue moving the international human rights agenda in that direction. 

Women and girls with disabilities. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. General comment No. 3 (2016). Article 6.

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2016

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"International and national laws and policies on disability have historically neglected aspects related to women and girls with disabilities. In turn, laws and policies addressing women have traditionally ignored disability". "Article 6 serves as an interpretation tool to approach the responsibilities of States parties across the Convention, to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of women and girls with disabilities, from a human rights-based approach and a development perspective". These general comments take the form of an introduction, normative content, states parties’ obligations, the interrelationship of article 6 with other articles of the Convention (perspectives of women with disabilities in CRPD provisions) and national implementation

Right to inclusive education. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. General comment No. 4 (2016). Article 24

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2016

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"States parties must ensure the realisation of the right of persons with disabilities to education through an inclusive education system at all levels, including pre-schools, primary, secondary and tertiary education, vocational training and lifelong learning, extracurricular and social activities, and for all students, including persons with disabilities, without discrimination and on equal terms with others". "The right to inclusive education encompasses a transformation in culture, policy and practice in all formal and informal educational environments to accommodate the differing requirements and identities of individual students, together with a commitment to remove the barriers that impede that possibility". The difference between exclusion, segregation, integration and inclusion is highlighted. Core features of inclusive education are set out. These general comments take the form of an introduction, normative content, states parties’ obligations, relations with other provisions of the Convention and implementation at national level." 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (theme: the right of persons with disabilities to participate in decision-making)

DEVANDAS-AGUILAR, Catalina
January 2016

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In the preparation of this study, a questionnaire was sent to Member States, national human rights institutions, agencies of the United Nations system, civil society organizations, and persons with disabilities and their representative organisations. As at 22 December 2015, 144 responses were received. The report covers the participation of persons with disabilities in political and public life (right to vote and be elected, right to access public service and right to participate in the conduct of public affairs). The report also covers participation of persons with disabilities in public decision making (importance of effective and meaningful participation, ensuring the participation of representative organisations of persons with disabilities, promoting consultation and the active involvement of persons with disabilities, and key areas for participation). Recommendations are presented.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (theme: the right of persons with disabilities to social protection)

DEVANDAS-AGUILAR, Catalina
August 2015

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'In the present report, the Special Rapporteur, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, provides a study focusing on disability-inclusive social protection as a prerequisite for the universalization of social protection. She stresses that social protection is fundamental for achieving the social inclusion and active participation of persons with disabilities, and promoting their active citizenship. She also argues that to achieve disability-inclusive social protection, States must move away from traditional disability-welfare approaches towards embracing the innovative rights based model'

A report about the rights of people with disabilities around the world

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
August 2015

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This is an easy read version of the 'Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities' about social protection. "Social protection helps governments make sure everyone can live well. Social protection is things that give everyone the same chances in life. For example: having enough food, basic healthcare, going to school, and money to help pay for the things you need if you cannot work or earn enough. The report says what this means for people with disabilities"

Note: the full report is available below as a related record

Thematic study on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community : Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UN OHCHR)
December 2014

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"The present study, developed under Human Rights Council resolution 25/20, is focused on the right to live independently and be included in the community, and the enjoyment, protection and promotion of that right as a substantive means for the realization of other rights, as a condition for avoiding institutionalization and segregation in health and social settings, and as a prerequisite to provide for the full development of the capabilities of persons with disabilities and their meaningful participation in, and contribution to, society"

Accessibility guide to the Human Rights Council for persons with disabilities

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UN OHCHR)
February 2014

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This accessibility guide details the different provisions made by the UN Human Rights Council to provide people with disabilities the necessary scope to participate fully and equally in the Council sessions. The guide has two sections: preparing to attend a Council session and accessibility in the Palais de Nations

Thematic study on the work and employment of persons with disabilities : report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
December 2012

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"The present study focuses on the work and employment of persons with disabilities. It analyses relevant provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, highlights good practices in promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, and identifies the main challenges that States parties encounter in ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy access to, retention of and advancement in employment on an equal basis with others"
A/HRC/22/25
Note: Easy read version is available in English in both pdf and word formats

Working methods of the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities adopted at its fifth session : 11-15 April 2011

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)
September 2011

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"These working methods, which are subject to periodic review, were developed to guide the work of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to complement the Committee’s rules of procedure. The present working methods reflect the eight general principles that underpin the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities"

Psychosocial counselling and social work with clients and their families in the Somali context : a facilitator’s guide

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (UNHCR)
November 2009

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This handbook is "designed to be used as training support handbook for helping professionals in the Somali context. The focus is on psychosocial needs for the rehabilitation of persons with trauma, mental health related forms of distress and those who have experienced gender based violence and gender related abuses. The guidelines, developed within a UNHCR funded programme in Somalia, are intended to assist staffs, who are concerned with providing protection and assistance to refugees and IDP"

Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities : advocacy toolkit

INTER-AGENCY COORDINATION GROUP FOR MINE ACTION
et al
July 2008

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This advocacy toolkit provides field practitioners with a user-friendly overview of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) and with a set of questions and answers that will enable them to introduce the main elements to counterparts. It explains how states can become party to the CRPD and provides a model tool for addressing government ministers. The toolkit includes useful guidelines for interactions with journalists, and provides a list of organisations engaged with the rights of persons with disabilities and a useful list of resources. It is designed to support efforts by United Nations-managed and supported mine action centres to advocate for the ratification and implementation of the CPRD and its Optional Protocol. This toolkit is useful for field practitioners to guide their efforts to encourage CRPD ratification and to contribute to CRPD implementation and monitoring

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