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WNUSP submission on Liberty and Security of the Person

September 16, 2013

In January 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Committee published Draft General Comment No. 35 that deals with liberty and security of the person. The right to liberty is of right of profound importance.

WNUSP considered paragraph 19 of this UN document which states:  “States parties should explain in their reports what they have done to revise outdated laws and practices in the field of mental health in order to avoid arbitrary detention. Any deprivation of liberty must be necessary and proportionate, for the purpose of protecting the person in question or preventing injury to others, must take into consideration less restrictive alternatives, and must be accompanied by adequate procedural and substantive safeguards established by law. The procedures should ensure respect for the views of the patient, and should ensure that any guardian or representative genuinely represents and defends the wishes and interests of the patient. States parties must provide programmes for institutionalized persons that serve the purposes that are asserted to justify the detention. Deprivation of liberty must be reevaluated at appropriate intervals with regard to its continuing necessity. Patients should be assisted in obtaining access to effective remedies for the vindication of their rights, including initial and periodic judicial review of the lawfulness of the detention, and to ensure conditions of detention consistent with the Covenant.”

The Executive Summary of the Submission can be downloaded here: Submission HRC September 2013

WNUSP was joined by other organizations in advocating that the CRPD shifts the paradigm from patient to full personhood of people with psychosocial disabilities when considering the comments of HRC.

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3 Comments
  1. CRPD art. 14: “(…) the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.”

  2. Liberty and security are basic. The rest depend on both.

  3. Phillip Marc Fabre permalink

    We are at the point now where either psychiatry must recommend a legal procedure for discharge from a hospital or legal procedure must recommend some pattern of psychological wellness which can be demonstrated leading to discharge; without a path to freedom the time spent ascertaining what wellness is to one could be viewed in the light of slavery.

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