The "International Convention on Disability" and our Human Rights

Tina Minkowitz, J.D. and co-presenters

The United Nations has begun to write a treaty (convention) on disability. Disability rights organizations including WNUSP (World Network of Users & Survivors of Psychiatry) have been involved in an advisory capacity from the beginning, advocating strongly for a human rights framework. When the treaty is finalized it will be open for ratification by governments, and once the required number of governments join, the treaty would become binding international law. Why should anybody in the US care about an international treaty? Will it have any effect on incarceration and forced/coerced treatment, IOC, discrimination or any of the other problems we face as survivors or users of psychiatry? Will the US even sign such a convention - and if not, what good is it to us? What effects could it have in other countries that are more friendly to international human rights? And finally, will the organizing and educating work we do in relation to the convention help us fight for our human rights against a globalizing psychiatric industry?

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