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Reisverslag Cape Town Declaration at WMHC 2011
18 oktober 2011
Cape Town Declaration at WMHC 2011
Due to registration queues I missed the first part of the first session, which was about scaling up of mental health care, such as the availability of psychotropic drugs, psychiatrists and psychiatric institutions in Africa. As I just said, this is a sore issue, because the current psychiatry isn’t the answer, but rather a problem.
In the second session there was room for consumers, users/survivors who addressed this issue. The new chairperson of the Pan African movement, Mrs. Robinah Nakanwagi Alambuya shared with us the Cape Town Declaration of 16 October 2011. This was her first performance as chairperson, and she impressed everyone who was there. Again I was really moved by this statement, which now is public:
Pan African Network of People with Psychosocial Disabilities
Cape Town Declaration of 16 October 2011
We recognise that people with psychosocial disabilities have been viewed in bad ways, with derogatory words being used to describe us such as mentally disturbed, having unsound minds, idiots, lunatics, imbeciles and many other hurtful labels.
We are people first! We have potentials, abilities, talents and each of us can make a great contribution to the world. We in the past, presently and in the future, have, do and will continue to make great contributions if barriers are removed.
We believe in an Africa in which all people are free to be themselves and to be treated with dignity. We are all different, unique and our differences should be appreciated as an issue of diversity. We need all people to embrace this diversity. Diversity is beautiful.
There can be no mental health without our expertise. We are the knowers and yet we remain the untapped source in mental health care. We are the experts. We want to be listened to and to fully participate in our life decisions. We must be the masters of our life journeys.
We want, like everyone else, to vote. We want to marry, form relationships, have fulfilled family lives, raise children, and be treated as others in the workplace with equal remuneration for equal work.
For as long as others decide for us, we do not have rights. No one can speak for us. We want to speak for ourselves.
We want to be embraced with respect and love.
We are deeply concerned about the extend of suffering experienced by our brothers and sisters on our vast continent. Poverty, human rights violations and psychosocial disability go hand in hand. We know that there can be no dignity where poverty exists. No medicines or sophisticated western technology can eradicate poverty and restore dignity.
The history of psychiatry haunts our present. Our people remain chained and shackled in institutions and by ideas which our colonisers brought to our continent.
We want everyone to acknowledge their participation in calling us names and treating us as lesser beings. These are barriers to our full enjoyment of life. These barriers are disabling us and prevent us from fully participating in society.
We wish for a better world in which all people are treated equally, a world where human rights belong to everyone. We invite you to walk beside us. We know where we want to go.
Signed 16 October 2011, Cape Town.
There was a very long applause for Robinah, who read this with so much dignity. She had the longest applause of the day, and she deserved that. It was really really impressive.
This was for me, and many of us, absolutely the highlight of the day. The other presentations mainly were about certain projects or organizations, just informative, while this statement was so real.
There were some other interesting user initiatives, and some discussions worth mentioning, but I will write about that tomorrow, because it is again already getting late. Most of my African peers will go home tonight or tomorrow, so I didn’t want to spend the entire evening in my room, typing reports, so instead I socialized. I can type tomorrow, and I will do so, because the work is piling up.
But tomorrow I will have the time for typing, because I’m about the only one who will stay here in this hotel for the time of the World Mental Health Conference (some others move out to other more expensive hotels, which are all funded for them), I will just stay where I am, and with a bit of luck I may get the same discount price as was bargained for the PANUSP work conference. I hope so, because otherwise it’s quite expensive. But I also do have other options (sleeping at Annie’s couch, but that will require a lot more travelling in the early mornings, because the conference starts daily at 8.30)
Today I looked at the programme and found out that my poster presentation is set for tomorrow. That is one day earlier than originally was planned, and I didn’t get a notice of that, but that doesn’t really matter. Tomorrow is fine. I am ready.
Also I found out that I WILL have the chance to go and visit Valkenberg psychiatric hospital. This is a unique chance! Just when I arrived this was about the first thing I asked to Annie and Moosa, but they both said the institution doesn’t allow visitors. Even Shuaib Chalklen, the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability, was denied access. The only way to get in is basically to visit someone inside as a friend or family. But now, on the programme of the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health, there is a tour programme, and one of the 7 options is to visit the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital on 21 October. So that means that I won’t be going to the Human Rights-conference, but I will join this tour (and others will go to the Human Rights-conference, so we will exchange information afterwards). I think this is a great chance to educate myself and to get a better understanding of psychiatry in Africa. I’m really considering myself lucky, but I’m aware that I shouldn’t be too excited, because I already heard heavy stories about this institution. It won’t be a fun trip, but it will surely be special and interesting.
And now I’m going to sleep and make sure I’m fresh when I’m having my presentation tomorrow.
Foto's bij verslag (2)
18 oktober 2011 04:37 | Door: Debra
I know Robinah! She is such a wonderful woman. We did the MDAC course on the CRPD together. Oh wow. Very, very moved and proud of her. Tell her congratulations!
18 oktober 2011 06:36 | Door: je moeder
Succes met je presentatie!
Heel veel liefs en een dikke knuffel!