Tuesday, 23 April 2013

the Scottish Human Rights Commission and psychiatric human rights abuse

I've just sent an Email to Professor Alan Miller at the Scottish Human Rights Commission in response to their news item just tweeted, regarding their 'Submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture' .  Although there is mention of "abuse of the elderly within care settings", I can see nothing about human rights abuses in psychiatric locked wards.  And I wonder if it really doesn't matter to the commission or to anyone outside of the psychiatric system, as to what happens behind the locked doors of mental institutions?

Does having a mental disorder label mean that anything goes, in terms of seclusion, restraint and forced treatment?  Can psychiatric nurses lock patients in seclusion rooms without a toilet or water to drink, and leave them there for hours unattended?  Is it OK for carers to be bullied and intimidated for trying to protect their family member in the locked ward from being inhumanely treated?  Will the police force be sent for to further intimidate and frighten a mother in her home so that the psychiatric system can do what it likes with her son?

I don't understand why psychiatric patients are treated worse than prisoners and why psychiatric hospitals get away with it.  Where is the justice in this?  Who is standing up for people with mental ill health who find themselves in distress, locked up and forcibly treated?  And who is there for the mothers and carers of the locked up psychiatric patients as they do all in their power to protect their families from human rights abuses in places that are meant to be about care and treatment?

From Mad in America web magazine: "In a statement to a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 4, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (Juan Mendez) called for a ban on forced psychiatric interventions including forced drugging, shock, psychosurgery, restraint and seclusion, and for repeal of laws that allow compulsory mental health treatment and deprivation of liberty based on disability, including when it is motivated by “protection of the person or others.”".   Statement from Juan Mendez.

Prof Miller says “Whilst people living Scotland and the UK are fortunate in enjoying a relatively high level of human rights protection there are many important issues that the Committee can raise with the UK Government next month.”.  I contend that the "high level of human rights protection in Scotland" does not extend to locked-in psychiatric patients who are at risk of seclusion, restraint and forced drugging. 

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