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Reisverslag CAT-committee questions to the Netherlands
14 mei 2013
CAT-committee questions to the Netherlands
Todays session (CAT Question on the Netherlands, 14 May 2013) can be found online in a few days at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org
First I had a meeting with Mme Belmir, who was interested to learn more on the issues I raised on torture and ill-treatment in mental health care in the Netherlands. Vicky was there to translate from French to English and back. It was an interesting conversation, mainly about forensic care psychiatry (TBS-system). It wasn’t really easy to explain what’s going on in the TBS-system, but in the end she understood. She also raised questions about the “TBS-combination sentence” which comprise a first phase of imprisonment without treatment, which can last years, and the second phase is mandatory psychiatric treatment. Of course this is a weird construction.
At 10 AM the question-session took place. It was quite a long session, and all the time I was focussed to see if mental health care issues would be addressed. I think it went very well.
Mme Belmir raised questions on the TBS-combination sentence, and also raised her concerns on the treatment of persons with disabilities, especially those in isolation.
Mr Bruni questioned on the use of restraints on juveniles in detention, and whether it happens that restraints are used as a sort of punishment. He also was concerned about the reports from NGO’s which say restraints, forced treatment and solitary confinement are frequently used also in mental care institutions.
Mrs Sveaass asked about the plans for ratification of the CRPD, and whether there are any exceptions/reservations for the ratification.
And she asked whether the youngsters who were placed to criminal centers wrongfully got any reparation.
She asked how many juveniles are in prisons with TBS orders.
And she continued on the use of restraints for minors: Are there any plans to abolish this? She said that a last resort seems to be related to a lack of alternatives, so it is necessary to strength alternatives.
She also mentioned adult facilities in psychiatric health care: The CPT visited the Netherlands in 2011. They visited 3 of 13 TBS-clinics (mental health hospitals dealing with detainees) There is a high rate of separation and use of isolation in psychiatric centers, and it is necessary to talk about this.
She was concerned on the high number of persons in seclusion and reports of deaths, suffocations and strangulations in physical restraints. What about that?
In the last round of the session Mrs. Sveaass added questions about the CPT report, which mentions the plan to change the time frame for individual review/evaluation of an TBS-measure from 2 to 3 years.
She also mentioned that the CPT stated that isolation cells are very oppressive and should not be used for person with IQ less than 50. She was concerned about the use of isolation cells on persons with mental disabilities.
Mr Grossman also raised the issue of psychiatric treatment, and asked what is the role of consent? The issue of compulsory treatments is educative on the role of consent. There is an interesting debate in many societies about increasing the role of consent. He stated: Every human being has the same rights, and restrictions are an exception.
There were many other topics addressed, such as migrant detention, police-interrogation, pre-trial detention, the right to access to a lawyer and more. But the amount of questions on forced psychiatric interventions was positive.
It was a lot to take in, and I was quite exhausted afterwards from being so concentrated for 2 hours.
I had no more meetings scheduled, and I had already checked out from the Tor hotel, so I was a bit homeless during the day. But there was free wifi at Palais Wilson, so after the session I went to the cafeteria and worked all afternoon on several documents providing background information. Around 5 PM I absolutely felt toasted and I left Palais Wilson.
I then just sat outside (in the burning sun) and after a while I went to Starbucks (free wifi) to work some more.
Around 7 I got a phonecall from Mari and Yoshi, who had arrived from Japan. Because all affordable hotel rooms were fully booked, Mari had offered me to stay with her in her double room, and I had taken that offer. So when they noticed me that they had arrived, I retrieved my bag from the Tor hotel, and then when I walked out of the Tor Hotel we coincidentally saw each other. It was such a coincidence. I looked at them thinking “is it them?”, and they were thinking the same. It was so funny, not even 5 metres from the door of the Tor hotel. This was again a kind of magical luck. And it is really great to be able to physically meet my Japanese colleague from the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP).
We walked together to the other hotel: The New Midi. Again I found it right away, without knowing the exact location. It went so smooth, that feels good.
Mari and Yoshi were of course very tired from their long trip, so we checked in, and then went out for dinner nearby. After sharing pizzas we went back to the hotel, and I worked some more on the informative background-document I was preparing. By now it is finished, and I am really tired. Mari is also still working on her laptop, right next to me. And I think it’s time to call it a day.
For sure it is positive that the CAT-committee raised questions on forced psychiatric treatments. Their awareness seems to be growing, which is great for our cause. I’m very curious to the answers that the Dutch delegates will give tomorrow. I’m not really having high expectations of that.
But after that, the CAT-committee will draft Concluding Observations, and I really hope these will be strong, so the world wide user community could benefit from that. So again I have something to dream about.
I’m feeling good. I still experience the magic vibe, and everything is running smooth for me. I really hope this is a sign…
Foto's bij verslag (3)
15 mei 2013 08:15 | Door: Ronald J. Bartle
heel Goed the Report!
15 mei 2013 12:37 | Door: je moeder
Goed bezig Jolijn!!!