Psychosocial Disabilities: The Role of Human Rights Advocacy in Advancing a Voice

The topics of ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Disabilities’ (whether physical, psychological or psychosocial) are familiar bedfellows. They often come up hand-in-hand in both social and legal discourse.

I just received an invitation by Transforming Communities for Inclusion, Asia (TCI Asia), a regional organisation for persons with psychosocial disabilities to attend a Plenary Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from 27-29 August 2018. The meeting is aimed at building a human rights approach to mental health advocacy. There will be a close analysis of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Singapore ratified the CRPD in 2013. A Country Report will evaluate Singapore’s track record in this area.

In due course, I will be posting more on this subject (not only because it is close to me personally, but also because I am interested in the synergies that human rights advocacy has on the changing attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. The CRPD takes great strides in eradicating the perception that persons with disabilities are “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection, and advancing a new reality that persons with disabilities are “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. So, how far have we progressed?

The Plenary Meeting I am told, is going to be exciting on several fronts, but most importantly, because, the entire event will be framed by professionals and individuals who suffer from disabilities themselves. I am looking forward to working with some amazing regional advocates and international human rights lawyers.

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