EDF side event - Advocacy by ENUSP and WNUSP
02 April 2015 | Zwitserland, Genève
First in the morning, I checked out of the hotel and went to Palais Wilson. Also today, I didn’t join the country review session (Turkmenistan), but I went to the cafeteria to link up with my colleagues of EDF.
We had 6 speakers for EDF, and all our presentations were harmonized yesterday in the preparation session. I had revised mine earlier, and now I added one sentence to my presentation: proposing to discuss EU’s competencies regarding the Council of Europe standards outside of the side event, because it is complex and time at the session is limited.
At 1 PM we went to the main conference room (the same where the country reviews take place), and we installed ourselves for the EDF side-event that was starting at 1.15. All speakers sat in a row in front.
Yannis Yallouros, EDF Executive Committee member, was the moderator and welcomed everyone in the room. He gave a brief overview of the event and introduced the speakers.
Then Rodolfo Cattani, EDF Secretary, gave an introduction to the EDF report. EDF has submitted a shadow-report to the UN, about practices in the EU that violate the equal rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This extensive report is compiled with contributions of several European organisations of persons with disabilities themselves. The next speakers highlighted the priority issues.
Maureen Piggot of Inclusion Europe (IE) spoke about the need for meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities and DPOs in decision making at EU level (art 4) and advocated for a code of conduct for consultation regarding persons with disabilities at EU level.
Gabor Petri of Mental Health Europe (MHE) spoke about the implementation and monitoring mechanism and the need for independent monitoring in line with the UN CRPD and the Paris Principles (art 33).
Then Peter Lambreghts of the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL) spoke about Community living and on EU quality standards for services in the community (art 19 and 26) and explained that there are a lot of barriers for participation in the community for persons with disabilities, including the current austerity measures that affect persons with disabilities at large.
Next was me, Jolijn Santegoeds of the European Network of (Ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP, http://www.enusp.org ). I spoke about deprivation of legal capacity (guardianship), deprivation of liberty and practices of torture and ill-treatment by forced psychiatric interventions in the EU (art 12, 14 and 15). I spoke about the widespread human rights violations against persons with psychosocial disabilities and the need to solve legal barriers imposed by several European Conventions.
You can read my presentation here: http://www.chrusp.org/file/294483/Priority_issues_of_ENUSP_EDF_for_LOI_on_EU.docx
PS.The full ENUSP submission regarding the List of Issues on the European Union can be found here: http://www.enusp.org/index.php/news/253-list-of-issues
And then, Francois Carbonez of CBM/IDDC spoke about Humanitarian aid and International cooperation (art 11 and 32). The EU is one of the biggest international aid donors, but inclusion of persons with disabilities needs attention in policies and practices, both inside as outside EU. He mentioned that even the European alarm-number 112 isn’t accessible for persons with disabilities yet.
After the presentation the floor was open for CRPD Committee members to raise questions or comments. Many questions of the CRPD Committee members were aimed at getting a better understanding of the competencies of the European Union, which is really complicated, since there are both clear as shared responsibilities of the EU regarding its member states, and there are many frameworks on various themes. The EDF report contains a description of EU competencies under every article of the UN CRPD, corresponding to the paragraphs of the report. The Committee members found the presentation and the EDF report helpful to get a better understanding.
One question was about whether we (ENUSP) were asking for too much of the EU, but I answered that we were asking for our human rights, and that isn’t too much in my opinion. ENUSP is just very concerned on a scenario where the Council of Europe standards remain unchanged, imposing an ongoing barrier for our human rights in the EU. We really want to see CRPD standards supersede the Council of Europe standards in the EU. Afterwards it appeared that the CRPD Committee member was actually looking for the technical procedural grounds (EU competencies) to address this issue, so we (Tina and I) sent some suggestions afterwards by email.
At 2.45 the time was up, and our side event ended. It had been a constructive exchange of information, and that felt good. The CRPD Committee was having a closed session on the EU review, so we all went back to the cafeteria, and looked back on the successful EDF side event.
I was positively surprised when I found an invitation by the European Commission in my email box, inviting ENUSP to take part in the 6th Work Forum on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Brussels on 29 April 2015, and to make a presentation there based on the ENUSP submission to the UN on the EU implementation of the UN Convention. This proactive invitation of the European Commission’s Unit for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DG Employment D.4), shows willingness to explore our issues, and shows willingness to include ENUSP’s voice, which is very positive of course. It surprised me, and made me very happy. It would be very great if we can start resolving the old paradigm and its barriers imposed in the EU.
After a little more socializing time, it was time to say goodbye to everyone and to go to the airport. I felt great, after 2 successful performances at 2 side events at the UN CRPD Committee, and a lot of pleasant networking. Being with my colleagues from WNUSP has once more been so empowering and inspiring. And although it was my first event with EDF, I also liked that very much. So I left Geneva loaded with good experiences and a smile on my face.
In a few weeks the List of Issues on the EU for CRPD review (made by the CRPD Committee) will be ready.
ENUSP will start working on its shadow report on practices in the EU that violate the human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
At the 14th session of the CRPD Committee, taking place from 17 August to 4 September 2015, the European Union will be up for review by the CRPD Committee. Then a delegation of the EU will be present in Geneva, to answer questions to the CRPD Committee, which hopefully will include the issues we are raising with ENUSP and EDF.
It is exciting. There is so much at stake. It could be such a milestone if this EU review process actually results in effective remedies at the EU level to secure our rights. It would be so huge, I hardly dare to imagine. So yes, I liked my trip to Geneva, and I am feeling good.
WNUSP side event “CRPD Article 15: Its Potential to End Impunity for Torture in Psychiatry”
By now, also the video of the WNUSP side-event on ending impunity for torture in psychiatry, of Monday 30 March 2015, is online in the webcast-archives. This video includes 2 testimonies by users/survivors of psychiatry from European countries (Netherlands and Norway) and a thorough legal analysis of the application of the torture-definition and the remedy-framework to forced psychiatric interventions.
WATCH THE WNUSP SIDE EVENT HERE:
More information on the WNUSP side event on ending impunity for torture in psychiatry in written form is available on the website of CHRUSP:
Tina Minkowitz, presentation on Torture Criteria Applied to Forced Psychiatry http://www.chrusp.org/file/294486/TinaArt15sideevent033015.docx
and additional references: http://www.chrusp.org/file/294487/References.docx
Hege Orefellen, presentation on Remedies, Redress and Guarantees of Non-repetition http://www.chrusp.org/file/294485/Side_event_CRPD_Art15_March2015_Hege.pdf
NN, male 45, Norway, presentation on Experience of Forced Psychiatric Drugging and Electroshock http://www.chrusp.org/file/294512/Experience_of_forced_psychiatric_drugging_and_electroshock-UN_side-event.pdf
Jolijn Santegoeds, additional information on Alternatives and Deprivation of Liberty: http://www.chrusp.org/file/294484/Information_from_Jolijn_Santegoeds.docx
WNUSP, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, http://www.wnusp.net
CHRUSP, Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry: http://www.chrusp.org
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