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Reisverslag Full report of DAY 1 of PANUSP conference
23 oktober 2011
Full report of DAY 1 of PANUSP conference
Report- Day 1 of PANUSP conference
Today, Thursday 13 October 2011, was the first day of the PANUSP seminar; Strengthening the Pan African Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry for the Realization of the Rights of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities on the African Continent.
The conference is being held in the conference room at the Holiday Inn Express hotel where all participants are staying. Yesterday was arrival-day, and today the PANUSP work conference has started.
At 9.00 we were welcomed by Moosa Salie from Ubuntu Centre (user organisation in Cape Town, which organized the PANUSP conference).
PANUSP started organizing themselves in 2005, as a pan African network of users and survivors of psychiatry, sharing experiences and expertise. Now, several years later PANUSP is growing and developing themselves further into an entity with a level of excellence. The next 2 weeks, Cape Town will be the stage of several important conferences regarding mental health and human rights, such as
- the World Mental Health Congress next week, where professional caregivers will share their views, ( www.wmhc2011.com )
- and the conference of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) , of which the theme is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (http://nanhri.sahrc.org.za/programme.asp )
But the users need to have a strong voice too, and organizing a PANUSP network event for strengthening user/survivor organizations was a logical step. So the next 2 weeks Cape Town will be a microcosm for international human rights for users and survivors of psychiatry.
The goals of the PANUSP conference are: serious empowerment of the user movement throughout Africa, by education and increase of knowledge on Human Rights advocacy. The next 3 days an educative training is offered to strengthen the user/survivor organizations throughout Africa.
Then Gabor Gombos, member of the CRPD Committee, gave an introduction.
Capacity building is a tool, not a goal. It’s very important to learn to use the capacities that are present. Users and survivors are experts and a true resource of wisdom. At the conference we will not be teaching eachother, but rather sharing information, and we hope to become wiser and be able to bring real changes.
PANUSP is the second regional user network that is formed around the globe. The European Network (ENUSP) was the first regional network and that started in the late ‘80’s. First ENUSP started in the North West of Europe and then a bit later East Europe joined. That made the European movement become more divers. They were broader and richer on information, and capable to bring real changes to policies.
So this PANUSP conference is a very important meeting for building capacity in order to bring change in the situation of users/survivors of psychiatry in the African continent. Changing policies is a political issue, and abstract norms of caregivers and professionals need to be translated into life experiences to create understanding and awareness of what this really means to the life of a user. Therefore it is very important that users organize themselves in networks and organizations, so they can have a voice that has a political impact.
This PANUSP conference is meant to have a concrete outcome, which is that user/survivor organizations will be more capable of bringing change. The future is more important then the past.
Then at 9.30 Heléne Combrinck, the programme facilitator, gave an introduction on the CRPD and human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. Heléne Combrinck is a lawyer and works on a university. She will guide us through the training of this conference.
By learning the contents of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), by training to use that information (capacity building), and reflecting on the areas of concern which were identified by the participants prior to the conference, there will be an outcome of strategic priorities at the end of the conference.
The objectives on organizational level are about finding challenges in the African continent, prioritizing human rights concerns, building capacity in the existing movement, and using the articles of the CRPD to protect and to promote rights for persons with psychosocial disabilities. Also exchanging information on best practices for social inclusion and participation, consolidating the network by mapping strategy and becoming effective as a platform are main goals.
But everyone also has personal objectives, and Heléne Combrinck asked us to consider our personal expectations, to be able to evaluate that afterwards. A few random personal objectives were: ensure that PANUSP puts a foot down to end human rights violations on persons with psychosocial disabilities, and PANUSP having a credible voice representing users/survivors. Or defining words for ourselves in order to give meaning to psychiatry. Or having a clear overview of issues and options and strengthening ourselves.
The next step was to reflect on the language we use, and decide whether the terminology is acceptable for us, because many terms are stigmatizing, like the word retarded. We all agreed that language does not really matter, just as long as there are no words imposed on us that we don’t like. The definition of our targeted group and the borders of our topics are sometimes quite vague, but we don’t have to be precise. We all understand what we mean. We are a room full of experts, all involved in the CRPD, some in drafting it, others in implementing it. So now we will share and learn about the realities of users living in Africa.
And then we were asked to describe: What are Human Rights? And various answers came in return: It’s agreed laws that everyone is entitled to, an agreed set of rules about dignity and peace. It’s safeguards to prevent violations. It’s freedoms, chances, or what we need as a person to live on this planet. It’s not to be treated like an animal. It’s inalienable rights that everyone is born with, inherent to nature. It’s reflecting welfare of mankind. It’s the opportunities and values of every human being. It’s the answer to human rights violations. It’s a set of principles – not superficial- but about real human needs, like dignity.
The next question was: What do I do with Human Rights? And again everyone was brainstorming and raising up aspects: It is good to know that we have rights and actual rules about human dignity, prohibiting to treat us like an animal (and also animals have rights). Human rights are an authority, to protect from violations and to promote awareness, so you can demand your rights. But in another way, human rights not have to be demanded, because these rights are inherent to every human being. But when someone is violated, then it’s time to make a fuzz, which is a demand. It’s important to exercise rights, not just demand. We have a responsibility to speak out.
Then Heléne Combrinck gave us notion of the historical development of human rights. It was after WorldWar 2 as a response to the violations that a group of people sat down and said: never again. Then a process of writing down the human rights started, which lead to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which is still the basis of all human rights laws and all human rights instruments.
So where do we find Human Rights laws? And answers came up again: At the UN of course, and in the constitutions, court decisions, and laws with rights. But also in customery international laws, like the right not to be tortured is widely accepted, and it became a custom, which means there is no more need to say that it’s illegal (even countries that didn’t ratify the Convention Against Torture (CAT) are aware that torture isn’t accepted and feel somehow obliged not to torture). But sadly torture still exists in several forms, like mental torture (not only physical).
At 10.30 Gabor Gombos, member of the CRPD Committee told us some more details on the drafting of the CRPD and key concepts. The development of international Human Rights instruments were a response to WW2 to make sure the violations won’t be repeated. But we know it repeated in practice. For example users and survivors are violated (globally) under the name of treatment.
It is interesting to take a closer look at why the decision was made that the CRPD was needed, and who wanted this. The users/survivors experiences were clearly expressing that they cannot live equally like others in the community, and the same goes for persons with other disabilities. But the other human right conventions include people with disabilities too, in the sense that they were not excluded from those conventions, at least not intentional or on purpose. Then after looking at the situation of persons with disabilities, there were clearly barriers in practicing inclusion, participation and their human rights. So then it became recognized that the existing treaties did not give enough protection to persons with disabilities. Then advocacy was started to promote human rights for persons with disabilities, and it took about 2 decades to succeed. Then countries suggested a proposal to establish a new human rights treaty for persons with disabilities at the UN-Conference of the State Parties (which is a UN meeting with all countries represented), which answered that there already were several human rights instruments, and the fault was probably in implementing those instruments, so they blocked the making of a new convention.
Then in 2001 Mexico came up with a smarter proposal and they did not ask for a new convention. Instead they wanted a committee to consider the option of a new convention, and the Conference of the State Parties agreed on that. Then the Ad Hoc committee had a meeting in New York in 2002 to consider the option of a convention, but only a few states responded and sent the requested web reports. At the second session the Secretary General of the UN encouraged all people and all organizations to submit ideas on how and what a new convention should be like. And amongst others the user/survivor movement seized this chance and wrote text proposals. An Expert Working Group had to review every submission, which comprised 14 persons of which 12 were persons with disabilities, including psychosocial. This is very revolutionary, because this never happened before. Usually the drafts for conventions are made by academics and diplomats who negotiate about the legal framework of human rights. But there seemed not to be much expertise at many governments. Only a few countries submitted proposals, and mainly these were short. But persons with disabilities wrote large extended and detailed proposals, which made it clear that they are the experts themselves, and as a consequence it were the persons with disabilities themselves who provided a basis text to guide the discussion. This is very revolutionary, because now the agenda was set by the persons with disabilities themselves (by the working group), and they were no longer in the role of responsive comments. This is a massive paradigm shift.
Persons with disabilities organized themselves to participate in this process. The states were asked to support a voluntary fund for travel costs of persons with disabilities, and persons with disabilities were more present at the third session. It then took about 5 years to negotiate about the contents of the convention, and then the final outcome was close to the original submission, because the persons with disabilities had a very strong expectation of what and how a convention should address. And while states wanted to keep a narrow definition of disability implying that only a small group will be protected and a lot left out, the persons with disabilities chose a social model instead and stated that disability does not reside in the person and is not to be seen as “failing or damaged”, but disability is a barrier in interaction from full enjoyment of human rights. The social model approach also enables the civil society to be united again and focus on equal rights.
It is important to recognise the motivation for drafting the CRPD. It were the people with disabilities who triggered this convention by speaking out.
After the tea break, at 11.00, Heléne Combrinck came again to let us discuss in smaller working groups on selected articles of the CRPD and their relevance to Africa. All participants were asked to first read and study the articles to come to a good understanding. And then we should choose one article which is most relevant or significant in our advocacy work everyday.
And then we were asked to link the articles to thematic areas of concern, which were already identified by the participants by a questionnaire before the conference started.
The third step was to give a summary to the plenary group.
The Areas of Concern as identified before the seminar were:
• The constitutions of certain countries exclude the voting rights of persons regarded as living with mental illness.
• Children are separated from mothers (parents) with psychosocial disabilities
• People lose their employment with onset of “mental illness”
• Police need training-awareness raising within judicial system
• Chaining, shackles, tying with rope and various are restraints used in community
• People with “mental illness” are sometimes excluded from the organised disability sector
• Stigma often results in a lack of marriage prospects
• Exploitation is often experienced when persons with disabilities do find employment
• Many persons with psychosocial disabilities are homeless and living on the streets
• Little government action is aimed at protecting or promoting work opportunities
• Discrimination is against persons with psychosocial disabilities experienced within the health care system
• Physical restraints are still used in hospitals; verbal abuse occurs
• No monitoring or mechanisms of complaint in institutions
• Abandonment and divorce of spouses with mental illness is common
• Sterilization is encouraged especially if both partners are users of psychiatry
• A history of mental illness excludes people from employment opportunities
• Women with mental illness are vulnerable to sexually transmittable infections and violence
• Lack of resources for the choice of mental health care especially in rural areas and often this is only to be accessed in urban area
• Free and informed consent to medical treatment is often not provided
• Punishment and seclusion prevalent in institutions
• Where people with mental health problems live in the community, they are often confined to their rooms and kept out of public view
• People left indefinitely to languish in institutions when psychiatric evaluations are ordered by court
The participants were divided in 4 working groups, and every group had 3 or 4 articles of the UN CRPD to study. Each working group was supposed to read their CRPD-articles out loud, and make sure that all participants really understood what was said. Then 1 or 2 articles had to be selected, based on which article is most relevant and most significant in our work every day.
Then we took the list of Areas of Concern and we had to assess whether each concern was linked to the selected article, directly, indirectly or not. In this way the UN CRPD articles were linked to the situation in various countries.
Afterwards the groups came together again, and gave their feedback on their findings.
Group 4 with participants from Ghana, South Africa, Malawi and Uganda selected the UN CRPD article 15: the right not to be tortured or treated cruelly, because this is something that happens both at the community level, at homes and by faith healers and also in institutions. They are denied an adequate standard of living (art. 28).
Group 1 with participants from South Africa, Zambia and Uganda selected the UN CRPD article 14: the right to a free and safe life, because most of the people with psychosocial disabilities are not given any freedom or choices, and handled wrong.
Group 3 with participants from Tanzania, Nigeria and Rwanda selected the UN CRPD article 19: the right to live independent in the community, because if you cannot live in the community, you also have no access to health, work or justice.
Group 2 with participants from South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania selected the UN CRPD article 12: the right to equal recognition before the law, because this covers everything: when you are not recognized as a person you are generally excluded from all the other rights as well, such as respect for home and family life (art. 23) and (re)habilitation (art. 26).
It became clear that all the articles of the UN CRPD are connected to each other. When a person gets chained, it can be considered as torture, but also the right to liberty is violated, and an adequate standard of living, and equality and so on. It is all connected, so it then depends on what strategy you choose to fight these injustices.
Also in real life it is all connected. People with psychosocial disabilities in Africa are seen as having an “unsound mind”, therefore they cannot sign contracts, making it impossible to work, or to have finances or to access any system at all. Therefore they cannot participate in life equal to others. They are generally disqualified as a whole, in every aspect of life.
Some sharp remarks were made during this feedback round, such as:
When you are sick they should call an ambulance and not the police.
In situations of chaining in the community, there are actually 2 victims: the child who gets chained, and the mother, who doesn’t know what else to do and it breaks her heart to take resort into restraining her child.
The feedback was finished after lunchtime.
Then around 13.30 Heléne Combrinck told us some more about the implementation of the CRPD, with a National Focus.
She had left out some articles in the work group exercise we just had. These were article 5: the right to equality and non-discrimination (which is very much related to stigma), article 29: the right to vote, and article 8: awareness-raising, which means that a country is obliged to take measures for creating public awareness.
Tomorrow there will be more on article 5 equality and non-discrimination, and article 29 the right to vote.
In this session we will look into how various rights can be used and implemented.
The Areas of Concern comprise very real things, and the complexity of everything being linked to each other can make it feel very hard to define what to do, but we need to answer those issues in common sense ways. It is important to identify and understand the rights and to learn how work with it. So we are in the stage of forming ideas for implementation.
Heléne took us on an imaginary journey, where we were all parliamentarians of this new country called Utopia. We just ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and now we need to decide what to do to implement the rights of the CRPD. She asked us what we would do.
First, of course, we would read the full text of the CRPD and get a training for a better understanding, and then we would check our laws to make sure that there is no conflict of rights in the law. If there were a conflict, we would scrap these laws and make new ones who are in line with the CRPD, to protect and to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in all policies. This is captured in article 4: General Obligations, which contains a list of commitments on gathering information, undertaking research and developments to secure the rights of persons with disabilities in all policies.
This includes the private sector as well (4.1.e). So if our national airline company, Utopian Airlines, isn’t accessible for wheelchairs, or doesn’t allow guide dogs, this is not consistent with the UN CRPD, because it has to be accessible. All inconsistencies must go, and states must take all appropriate measures to conform with the UN CRPD and to refrain from unequal or discriminatory laws, regulation, customs or practices (4.1.b).
This also goes for, in example, the private university of Utopia, where students exams can be postponed during any illness. This doesn’t only apply for medical illnesses, but also in case of mental problems the exams should also be postponed. This means that situations where people with mental problems aren’t allowed to do their exams on the basis of their mental problems constitute discrimination.
Article 4.2 further states that States have an active role in achieving progressively the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights, which goes further than just abolishing active discrimination. The absence of wrong doesn’t automatically imply the presence of rights.
Article 4.3 comprises the State’s obligation to consult with persons with disabilities on implementation and other decision-making processes on issues that concern them. Nothing about us, without us.
Article 33 National implementation and monitoring mentions what structures should be put in place, such as a national focal point for matters relating to implementation and related actions to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the UN CRPD. This can be an independent Human Rights framework (such as national Ombudsman) or an existing national Human Rights organisation, who is already concerned with other human rights. Such organizations may need more education on the CRPD. Also a new body can be appointed if there are no good relations within existing organisations.
One of the concerns expressed at the PANUSP was that some national human rights organization are using government budgets and government structures, which results in a restricted scope, because they are too depending on the government. And also we heard of an example in Australia, where the national human rights organization supports the governments reservations on the UN CRPD, which in fact basically means that this Australian human rights organization doesn’t comply with the UN CRPD. That is worrying us.
After ratification, the UN CRPD is a part of the law, but that doesn’t automatically mean there are no conflicting issues anymore (dualism). We cannot simply rely on the system.
Then Gabor Gombos was sharing the international focus on implementation, and explained to us the role of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: what does it do, how can you help, and how can you use it.
The CRPD Committee is an independent body of experts, and 16 out of 18 experts are people with various disabilities themselves. Those experts are nominated by the national governments, which makes it slightly questionable on how independent this body of experts is. To minimize any conflict of interests, the individual experts cannot judge their own country. The CRPD Committee is not meant as a bureaucratic instrument, but focuses on how persons with disabilities can enjoy their rights.
The implementation of the UN CRPD is discussed annually at the Conference of the State Parties in New York, with presence of representatives of every member country of the UN. The review by State Parties is done as follows: In 2 years after ratifying the UN CRPD, all ratifying countries (governments) are obliged to have made an initial report, which is published on a website to push governments to comply (see http://www.bayefsky.com/docs.php/area/reports/node/2/treaty/crpd/opt/0 ). Those State Reports need to address pieces of the law where the practices are not yet in line with the UN CRPD, and what rules are not compliant. This should be independent and objective information, but in practice this isn’t always the case and there can be a difference in what the State Reports tell, and the lived experience of people with disabilities.
Therefore, anyone can submit a Shadow Report. The CRPD Committee will rely on these data just as much as on the government report. All data will be published to come to a transparent and constructive dialogue (data of Shadow Reports will be made anonymous). The CRPD Committee is not a court system, nor a police, but they just want to create a correct understanding of the UN CRPD and want to help and guide the steps that are needed to change non compliant aspects. The constructive dialogue with the State will take one day (6 hours) and is based on questions that are sent to the government on the forehand, which contains a list of concerns. The public meeting of the constructive dialogue will be webcast.
There have been 2 country reviews so far: Tunisia and Spain. Mental Health has been a significant topic in these discussions. For example questions were: How many people are lacking legal capacity? And in the case where mental health problems automatically lead to exclusion of the right to vote, they asked for a clarification in writing. In Shadow Reports it is also possible to recommend questions for this constructive dialogue.
After the constructive dialogue a document with Concluding Observations is made, and made public. In the Concluding Observation first is mentioned on what areas the State does well, as a positive comment. Secondly, concerns of serious conflict are identified, and then follows the recommendation, which is legally binding for the State.
By reading the Concluding Observations you can learn a lot.
Most governments do not have a full understanding of the UN CRPD yet. Before the CRPD entered into force exclusion based on mental disability wasn’t seen as a violation of human rights. In a way, also on other treaties the understanding isn’t always full, such as the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The CAT is agreed by all states and is obligatory on everyone, but still there are practices that constitute torture, although they often aren’t called torture by the official mechanisms. One example is involuntary treatment, which can be torture (with the objective to change someone’s mind with forceful interventions). For a long time this was said (and accepted) to be done “in one’s best interest”, as a form of care, but since the UN CRPD entered into force this is in fact a violation of the right to legal capacity.
The understanding of the CRPD is evolving, and therefore the CRPD Committee is taking small steps in criticizing the States, and elaborate issues one by one to come to a good understanding, because it wouldn’t be fair to demand a full change over one day’s time. One issue that is now being addressed is that the existence of any disability, regardless of the severity, can never be the ground of decreasing human rights. The rule is that all treatments should be based on free and informed consent, which can only come from the person him/herself (not by a guardian or representative). This eventually means that any intervention without free and informed consent is in conflict with the CRPD (unless this is disability-neutral, such as life-saving and judicial interventions, but then it is just the same for everyone else), which will be addressed in a later phase.
The CRPD Committee also works on General Comments on important issues, to stimulate a good understanding and interpretation on dispute issues of the UN CRPD. A General Comment about Legal Capacity (article 12) will be published in 2012.
The UN CRPD Optional Protocol describes ways to monitor the implementation of the rights for persons with disabilities. Individuals as well as groups can submit complaints if they have tried and exhausted all domestic remedies. Then a court decides and gives a binding decision on the State. However, this isn’t organized into mechanisms to enforce that.
Political activists should see the CRPD Committee as an ally, and use it to promote their activism. If there is no shadow report, the CRPD Committee has to rely on the information from the government. In the spirit of the CRPD the States should include persons with disabilities and consult with them even before their State Report, but in practice this still mainly ignored.
There is also a lack of understanding in monitoring, as the history of treaties prove us. It is generally seen as paperwork. The State Report is like homework for the governments. They like to create a good image of themselves, instead of assessing the needs of the state and how to comply. But we know that all countries have issues.
There are countries where by law or constitution, guardianship automatically leads to losing your voting-rights (even in the case of partial guardianship, such as financial supervision). And all states enable and practice involuntary treatments or confinement for people who suffer from psychosocial barriers, which is contrary to the UN CRPD.
Governments will basically only do their duty when they are stimulated to do so. So the political climate needs to change, and the stigma on persons with mental health problems needs to disappear. We need support from the mass, and the media.
Something worth mentioning is that the former Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Manfred Nowak has written a report in 2008, which is the first document of it’s kind that states that the so-called “medical interventions” without consent in psychiatry may amount to torture. (see Istanbul statement: http://solitaryconfinement.org/uploads/Istanbul_expert_statement_on_sc.pdf )
Also, some interesting developments can be found in Norway, where a Low Commission analysed the necessary changes for implementation of the UN CRPD. Although the outcome was discouraging, the process is a good practice.
At 16.00 Heléne Combrinck facilitated another session of group work on International and Regional Human Rights mechanisms. She presented to us a case (which she made up) and asked us how to handle that particular situation.
Case-study – International and Regional Human Rights mechanisms
Elizabeth is a 21-year old Ugandan woman who married her husband, Joseph, two years ago just after her eighteenth birthday. She quickly fell pregnant and gave birth to a daughter; somewhat to her dismay, her husband insisted on having a second child immediately afterwards (because he really wanted a son), but the second baby was also a girl.
After the birth of their second child, Elizabeth became increasingly tired and listless, and seemed to loose interest in the babies. The family doctor prescribed ‘vitamins’, with no effect. Joseph subsequently took Elizabeth to see a traditional healer, who suggested that she may benefit from a stay at a nearby prayer camp because he concluded that her condition was the result of bewitchment. This prayer camp was managed by a Christian organization and had reportedly achieved great successes in healing through prayer combined with traditional healing methods.
When Elizabeth had been at the camp for two weeks, her cousin Ben, who is studying in Kampala to become a psychotherapist, heard about her situation and came to visit her. He was shocked to see that she had lost a great deal of weight, and the camp managers complained that she was refusing to eat. He found her alone in a locked room, lying on the thin reed mat that was used as a bedding, and she would not speak to him or make eye contact. The only sound that he could her from her was soft humming, which went on without variation during his whole visit. However, when Ben started to get up to leave, Elizabeth became very agitated and held on to him, tears flowing down her cheeks. She still did not say anything.
Ben, very upset, discussed the matter with Joseph, who said that according to the camp managers, Elizabeth was making good progress and a ‘break-through’ was expected any day now. Then she would not only be able to come home, but they would also be able to extend their family to have the son they both so dearly wished for. He refused to consider the possibility to fetch Elizabeth before this ‘break-through’ occurred.
It was clear to Ben, with his limited medical knowledge, that Elizabeth’s condition was in fact critical: she was badly dehydrated due to her refusal to eat and urgently needed medical care. Her other problems, most likely untreated post-natal depression aggravated by the isolation at the prayer camp, also needed care. He therefore contacted a friend of his, Frederick, who worked as a legal aid lawyer, to assist Elizabeth.
Frederick brings an urgent application to the Supreme Court of Uganda (SCU) to have Elizabeth released from the prayer camp and admitted to the nearest hospital. The SCU, however, refuses this, saying that Joseph is effectively her legal guardian. Elizabeth is unable to make decisions for herself at the moment, and Joseph’s decision about where she must be treated should therefore be respected. Ben’s effort to intervene through the Ugandan courts is therefore not successful.
Where would you advise Ben to go next?
Again smaller working groups were formed to discuss this matter. And various suggestions were made.
Ben could talk to Joseph, and urge him from the bottom of his heart that Elizabeth needs treatment, and even put Joseph to court to dispute if he is even capable of being the legal guardian. Or maybe the community can be mobilized, or a facebook-campaign to make use of group pressure, but that could maybe have negative effects to Elizabeth’s social position, due to the stigma related to ‘bewitchment’.
Ben could lobby with the camp owners for release, because Elizabeth’s life is at risk, and as a fact the camp owners generally don’t want to harm Elizabeth (change is possible). He could also try to find a local diplomat, include Joseph’s best friends and family or find a strong network organization, for example for women’s rights.
Another option would be to go to the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, or the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, or the Commission for Elimination of Discrimination Against Woman (CEDAW) or FIDA. Ben could also try to go to the Committee for the Rights of the Child, because Elizabeth is also separated from her children. But of course those procedures do take quite some time…
It is a local situation, and it is best to solve it locally. Maybe it is possible to find another traditional healer who is willing to compromise.
The conference was finished around 17.30.
After having had a nice dinner, we had some time to socialize, before going off to bed.
It had been a very inspiring day to us all.
Foto's bij verslag (1)
23 oktober 2011 17:44 | Door: Roeben
is abortion a result of a unwilling pregnancy becouse of mental health problems?
23 oktober 2011 18:27 | Door: Tony
What's next on program?
23 oktober 2011 22:01 | Door: Jolijn
@ Roeben.. they just don't want people with mental problems to have children.. even last year in the Netherlands they have forcefully sterilized a woman with intellectual disability, and the new draft law allows those practices even more.. "based on individual needs" they call it, "for their own best" or "to protect the child".. but it's exclusion of fundamental rights..they should offer support...