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Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting

up every time we do."

Confucius

CRPD - Mental Health Rights

In 2009 the USA signed but still has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (the “CRPD”). One of the purposes of the CRPD is “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” (CRPD, Art. 1.) Among the many rights of people with disabilities protected by the CRPD are the rights to equal recognition under the law (Art. 12), access to justice (Art. 13), and to live in the community, with choices equal to others. (Art. 19.)   Under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, once a nation signs a Convention, it is “obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of that Convention. (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties art. 18, May 23, 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331.13)  Although the United States has not yet ratified the CRPD, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that “the opinion of the world community, while not controlling [the Court’s] outcome, does provide respected and significant confirmation for [its] own conclusions.” Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 578 (2005).http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf

You Were Born An Original

Justice is not blind, she is merely blindfolded. Source Unknown

International Mental Health Rights

The United States under international treaty obligations has direct responsibility for human rights violations when committed by state agents or officials. Even when human rights violations are committed by non-state actors, primary responsibility, and accountability, in international law rests with the government of the national government in whose jurisdiction the violation occurs. The US government must do more than refrain from violating human rights and this includes the rights of persons with mental health disabilities. It must put effective measures in place so that violations committed by private individuals are prevented insofar as possible, and victims protected. Where violations occur, it must ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice with effective sanctions imposed, and reparation provided to the victim. This is called the Duty of Due Diligence.

 

The right to mental health is not just a right to mental health services, but it is also closely related to and dependent upon other rights. This includes the rights to food, housing, work, education, human dignity, life, non-discrimination, equality, the prohibition against torture, privacy, access to information, and the freedoms of association, assembly and movement. In addition, mental health care must be available, accessible, acceptable and of appropriate quality. [The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(in its General Comment 14)]The U.S.A. has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), and thus is bound under international law to abide by its’ principles . The CCPR seeks guarantee a broad range of universal human rights across a wide range of human endeavor. The preamble to the CCPR recognizes that the rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person. The CCPR sets out certain "civil and political" rights. Among these are many human rights relevant to the issue of least restrictive mental health treatment.Persons with mental health disabilities have under the CCPR, the Right of self-determination. This is the right of all peoples of self-determination,including a right to determine freely political status and dispose of natural wealth and resources (CCPR Article 1). Under the CCPR, those with mental health disabilities have the Right to life.The right to life, including restrictions on the circumstances in which capital punishment may be imposed (CCPR Article 6).

 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly declared in  Article 3 states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 10 Right to life -states: “States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others,”

There is under numerous human rights treaties and instruments a prohibition against torture, cruel and degrading treatment. This is clearly stated in the Convention Against Torture (CAT) which the U.S.A. has both signed and ratified. The Prohibition of torture is also stated in the CCPR: “The right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including the right not to be subjected to non-consensual medical or scientific experimentation (CCPR Article 7).”

Many in the field of human rights believe that hospital confinement and forced psychiatric treatment can be humiliating and degrading and leaves life long stigma and emotional trauma to the patient and can impact the patients’ life in a negative way permanently. Little is more degrading than for patients to be treated as warehoused commodities for the growing industry of for-profit mental facilities.

 

Disabled persons are viewed as chattel, as a “cash cow” for private for profit facilities and for profit guardians (surrogate decision makers). The use of a disabled person as a means to maximize profit and to extract taxpayer money in the form of expensive medical treatment under Medicaid and Medicare is demeaning to their humanity and dignity as human beings. These warehouse facilities utilize loopholes in the welfare laws to chemically restrain and control disabled and elderly people and thus force them to be compliant with medical fraud. This coupled with the removal of the patient’s legal rights to file complaints with the local, state or federal authority means that medical facilities and providers who are human rights violators have no oversight or monitoring of their behavior.

 

Thus when making medical decisions for the physical and mental health of patients who are entirely incapable of making decisions for themselves, there still is an obligation under Convention Against Torture (CAT) - for freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.The CCPR also states a Prohibition of slavery or servitude - The right not to be held in slavery or servitude, or (subject to certain express exceptions) to be required to perform forced or compulsory labour (CCPR Article 8).

From Vulnerability to Strength

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
 
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER ADVOCACY NETWORK

P.O. 42700 

Washington, DC 20015

MedicalWhistleblowers (at) gmail.com

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"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910