jueves, 14 de febrero de 2019

The interpretation of the right to mental health in the African and American systems

Posted by Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga.

The latest volume of the African Human Rights Yearbook (Vol. 2, 2018, pp. 223-242) includes an article of Miriam Wachira & Doug Cassell, entitled “The interpretation of the right to mental health in the Africa and American systems”. This is the abstract: 

“The right to health is now justiciable in both the African and Inter-American human rights systems. In Africa, the right to mental health however is still not given priority, leaving persons with mental disabilities marginalised and discriminated against in the allocation of resources. The Lunatics Detention Act of The Gambia has not been amended to comply with the recommendations of the Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and this reflects how the state views the right to mental health and the weight it attaches to the Commission’s recommendations in the Purohit case. By comparison, when the Ximenes-Lopes case to the American system was still ongoing, the state had already started reforms and has since complied with all the recommendations. The African Commission held that mental health patients had a right to decide their treatment and viewed involuntary detention under mental health legislation as a violation of the right to liberty and security of the person and the prohibition against arbitrary detention. The Inter-American system held that the right to personal liberty established in article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights also protects people with mental disabilities from institutionalisation. Based on the analysis of the two cases, the article concludes that there is a need for policy change and resource allocation for mental health patients by African states to ensure that they enjoy their right to health”

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