#WhatWENeed Campaign

Full CRPD Compliance for the Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities / users and survivors of psychiatry, worldwide



Partners for reframing from MH to Inclusion, this International Mental Health Week, 2018[1]

Persons with psychosocial disabilities, users and survivors of psychiatry, people with “mad” identities and other identities thereof, are herewith calling for support to have our voices amplified through this International Mental Health Week, 2018.

It is a huge development in the last years, that the Reports from Special Rapporteur (Disabilities), Reports and statements from the Special Rapporteur (Health),  the Mental Health And Human Rights Report (2018) from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, several lessons learnt from the work of the CRPD Monitoring Committee, particularly the General Comments on Legal Capacity, Women, Living independently and most recently, Participation; and allied UN bodies have issued very strong statements supporting moves to realize all human rights of the CRPD for persons with psychosocial disabilities. This is also supported by far reaching policy changes worldwide, on enabling full CRPD compliance.

The medical model, through the “Global Mental health Movement”, is all set to blaze its trail through Low and Middle Income Countries of the world (LMICs), since the first Lancet issue in 2007, around the same time as the adoption of the CRPD.   Around the World Mental Health Week of 2018, several enabling agencies, are set to conduct the “Global MH Ministerial Summit” in London.

In a way that the cross disability movement is not used to anymore; contrary to the CRPD, of ensuring full and effective participation of persons with disabilities; and contrary to the spirit of the World Disability Summit, this summit is being designed and conducted without any transparency or participation of persons with psychosocial disabilities and users and survivors of psychiatry.  According to the website, which is sparse in information, a Lancet paper is also promised to be released at this time, which has aroused the ire of the movement of persons with psychosocial disabilities, their supporters and their allies, worldwide; but especially in the Low and Middle Income Countries, where such moves are predicted to have maximum impact.

In a deliberate response to those complex new developments worldwide, a “Bali Declaration” [Full Text of the Bali Declaration] was issued by TCI Asia Pacific in August, 2018, affirming once again a call to CRPD commitment and reframing mental health in the direction of Inclusion.

The “North driving the South” phenomenon has evoked strong counter response from TCI AP and allied organizations (from Africa and Latin America); especially when we know by now, that the western model of psychiatry, based on colonial practices of isolation, and coercion; and offering little more than medication, is a failure. The Declaration, in expressing alarm at the import of models and the impending violations in human rights, needs more universal visibility and advocacy, in all parts of the world.

Further, the World Mental Health Week is considered by TCI AP to be, most appropriately, the space to occupy by users and survivors of psychiatry, persons with psychosocial disabilities, “mad” people and those with other identities thereof.

TCI AP is concerned that, the GMH movement seems to be aiming for world eminence in setting the lowest standard of the CRPD.  It is unusual for a professional group to continually contest and take down international standards by several notches, as they have been doing in the last decade, by setting a counter strain of CRPD interpretation, especially on Articles 12, 14 and 19.  It is curious how a particular group of medical professionals can overwrite  CRPD monitoring committee; CRPD interpretations emerging from courts; as well as ratifications and commitments made worldwide by member states.

Instead of engaging in constructive actions of community development, our movement is thus having to create new and continuing critical messaging, and advocacy with member states, reiterating our advocacy for full CRPD compliance  and our right to live in the community.

TCI AP has been decisive in the last 2 years to shift the focus on advocacy away from solely challenging violations of rights, especially within mental health systems, to promote a set of policies of practices that have inclusion across policies and services, in line with article 19, as core principle, process and outcomes.

Join us to collectively, across regions and boundaries, to express our concerns at,

#WhatWENeed:  We need Full CRPD Compliance!!


Find us on Twitter at  #WhatWENeed

Find us on FaceBook at TCI AsiaPacific

The Campaign is open from 1st October – 30th November 2018

Contact at   tciasia.secretariat@gmail.com


[1]  TCI Asia Pacific has been an organized DPO of persons with psychosocial disabilities since 2014, but was started in the context of the CRPD, mobilizing since 2012 in the Asia Pacific region.



Full Text of the Bali Declaration

Transforming Communities for Inclusion- Asia Pacific

[TCI Asia Pacific]


We,  persons with psychosocial disabilities and cross disability supporters from 21 countries of the Asia Pacific region, in Bali, on August 29th 2018, and at the Plenary meeting of Transforming Communities for Inclusion –  Asia Pacific [TCI Asia Pacific], [1]

Hereby confirming

  • The systematic and pervasive violation of all our human rights; including all forms of discrimination, exclusion, violence, inhuman, degrading and torturous treatments taking place, in higher and lower income countries; in cities and rural areas; in outer islands; in institutions and communities; in schools, universities, health care centers, and in social services.
  • The failure of the most current, and new policy responses framed by the medical model which are restricting freedom, choice and opportunities; the gatekeeping by the mental health system, by assessing, conditioning, controlling and restricting our exercise of our rights; often ignoring resources for inclusion within communities, cultures, belief systems that may increase our choices and chances of full inclusion.
  • Those policy responses often centered on mental health do not comply with international human rights standards and, frameworks provided by various international Conventions and treatises, most importantly, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [CRPD].

Encouraged by the progress made by some countries in the region ensuring the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities within policies and legislation for the inclusion of all persons with disabilities, in accordance with the CRPD; confirming the absolute relevance of the paradigm shift towards ‘inclusion’ and away from medical model or a sole focus on ‘mental health’;

Alarmed by the extent to which even the most progressive mental health environment still control and deny our rights to education, work, have a family, access to social protection, food, basic needs and an adequate standard of living; rights to vote, life and liberty, equal recognition before the law, among all other rights guaranteed by the human rights framework;

Among the issues of sustained discrimination, and exclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities,  we highlight as grave:

  • The growth of new mental health laws in the Asia Pacific region with core provisions of involuntary admission and treatment; often leading to highest rates of stay in psychiatric hospitals [2]; the terrible conditions in mental institutions, including physical and sexual abuse of people with psychosocial disabilities of the region [3]; risk of life due to infections, starvation, malnutrition, direct shock treatment (Shock treatment without the use of anesthesia)[4] , unregulated use of restraints and solitary confinement, and other inhuman, degrading, and torturous treatments;
  • Violations in the families and communities- including pasung, (shackling) a practice commonly found; being cast out and deprived of all access to any kind of family, or community engagement; seclusion in inhuman, degrading, cruel and torturous conditions within social care institutions, unregulated houses, shanties and animal coups;
  • The complete silencing of voices of persons with psychosocial disabilities through State sanctioned discrimination using incapacity laws more frequently practiced in the Commonwealth; the systemic discrimination against our inclusion within development especially of women, children, LGBTI, indigenous and other groups otherwise facing multiple discriminations in our societies.

That, such concerns are not being a sporadic occurrence but confirmed as frequent occurrences, in all parts of Asia Pacific; deeply embedded within legal, normative, and social structures; being reinforced by colonial, historical traditions set within national laws;

That, such violations in law and practice cannot be addressed by marginally improving mental health systems that perpetuate the denial of human rights in the name of ‘our best interest’, but by adopting the full shift of paradigm of the CRPD towards inclusion in accordance with our choice, will and preference.


  • Commitments of all UN members states to implement the sustainable development goals to leave no one behind reduce inequalities and empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all,
  • Obligation of most Asia-Pacific countries that have ratified the CRPD topromote, 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, autonomy and independent decision making, on equal basis with others
  • Commitments of all Asia Pacific states to “Make the right real” for all persons with disabilities through the implementation of the Incheon Strategy
  • Commitments of Pacific countries to the Pacific Framework on the Rights of Persons with disabilities

Recognising,  that an inclusive implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and the full realisation of human rights mutually reinforce each other,


  • The concluding observations and recommendations of the UN CRPD committee to Asia – Pacific countries to date, as well as the General Comments on Equal Recognition before the law (Art 12)[5], Women with Disabilities (Art 6)[6], Living independently and being included in the community (Art19)[7], Non-discrimination and equality (Art 5)[8] among others,
  • The reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with disabilities to the UN Human rights Council on Social protection[9], Inclusive policy[10], Legal capacity[11] and participation and rights-based support for persons with disabilities [12],
  • The report from the Special Rapporteur on the Right to highest standards of physical and mental health to the human rights council on Mental Health, statement on the “corruption” in the mental health systems around the world[13] and the denunciation of the “global burden of barriers” faced by persons with psychosocial disabilities[14],
  • The 2017 Human Rights Council Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights[15], including call to address the underlying social, economic and environmental determinants of health; to abandon all practices that fail to respect the rights, will and preferences of all persons; de-institutionalization; to prevent over medicalisation and to promote and respect the enjoyment of the rights to liberty and security of person and to live independently and be included in the community.

In full realization of all human rights as enshrined in the CRPD, and especially the human right to live independently and be fully included in communities (Article 19, General Comment 5), we want (1) to be able to decide our place of residence and who we want to live with (2) have access to a range of in home, residential and / or community support services nearby our places of residence (3) be included in all services available on equal basis with others and (4) all services should be responsive to our specific needs.

Call for Actions

That recognize, inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities involves a paradigm shift and reframing of policy environment from medical model to social model; mental disorder to psychosocial disability; public health to inclusive development; institutionalization to inclusion; treatment to support systems, evoking the guidance of CRPD and the SDGs to bridge such reframing;

  • That will place Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities as the purpose, process and outcome of all social, legislative, policy, program, service actions, across all sectors, involving all actors including, but not limited to health care, and within all Development agendas, plans, programs, and partnerships for change,
  • Going beyond recent harm reduction approaches for example, by the WHO, to revive and reform towards “humane” mental health care; and also expressing apprehensions about the continuing “reform” efforts to maintain the systemically flawed, archaic colonial designs of psychiatric detention; and concerned that the WHO Quality Rights[16] would be wrongly considered as the solution to our problem of inclusion,
  • Adopting the movements for non-violent, peer led, trauma informed, community led programs, healing, cultural practices preferred by local groups of persons with psychosocial disabilities; attentive to the movement of non-medical alternatives worldwide, and in the Asia Pacific region; and progressive models for support in the communities,

We submit, the following measures be realized, with the due consideration that persons with psychosocial disabilities be engaged at every step-

  • The right to education be realized within all educational systems supported by reforms towards lifelong learning; access to alternative and augmentative means of communication such as non verbal / arts based expression; reasonable accommodation; access to flexible programs and a range of support services; prohibition of hazardous, forced or over medicalization and institutionalization of children;
  • The right to work and employment be realized with the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in all job markets, employment exchanges, job placements and support for livelihood opportunities; provision of support, flexible hours and reasonable accommodation within work places; disability benefits at work, on equal basis with others; due recognition of contributions; possibilities of professional growth, access to trainings, promotions, etc. on equal basis with others;
  • The right to adequate standards of living and social protection be realized for the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in all social security programs; the right to food ensured; the right to housing being of utmost importance, especially for relieving the persons in detention / shackled in the region, to prevent institutionalization and to live in communities; social protection schemes to help persons to escape poverty and to thrive; such schemes  be designed to ensure the dignity, respect, autonomy and independent living of all persons with psychosocial disabilities.
  • The right to health care be realized including comprehensive general health care, on equal basis with others; that psychiatric care does not become a barrier to access highest standards of health and wellbeing; that reporting of iatrogenic concerns by persons with disabilities and their families (for example, zombism, tardive dyskinesia, Parkinson’s, psychosis, suicidal ideation and behaviours, in addition to metabolic, cardiovascular and other general health complications) be recognized and addressed; various kinds of culturally sensitive healing and well being methods, including diet therapy, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, meditation, trauma informed counselling, talk therapies, arts therapies and other, be available within health care coverage;
  • Program measures be available for de-institutionalization, ensuring community support systems, such as personal assistance, community circles of care, peer support, formal and informal networks for support, family empowerment, listening spots, refuge / drop in / quiet rooms, spaces for creative expression, personal insight building especially about crisis, support persons trained to dialogue and negotiate the safety on the basis of the will and preference of persons with psychosocial disabilities, support to be available nearby where the person is living, especially concerning the homeless, and environments of peace and safety within communities;
  • The Right to political participation is ensured in all countries of the region, especially the right to vote, stand in elections, and hold public office;

We recommend,

That, our right to full and equal recognition before the law be immediately recognized by all countries in our regions; that laws be so harmonized with the CRPD so that noone with a psychosocial disability shall ever be denied a civil, social, political, economic or cultural rights on the basis of “incapacity” or “unsoundness of mind”;  that the legal system be cleansed of its colonial legacy, especially in the Commonwealth;

That, the dictum of “Nothing about us without us” be ensured in all processes including the development of technical, ethical and other guidelines, policies, legislations, and any other efforts towards our inclusion;

That, all United Nations and allied agencies, aid agencies, and global actions of governments towards the development of our regions, including the WHO, to consider our participation and inclusion in all co-operations towards inclusive development; that all such actions be mindful of the paradigm shift from mental health to inclusion;

We aspire,

  • To the extent that all such progressive actions for our inclusion are in our interest, to contribute to those actions through co-operations on trainings, capacity building, guidance on inclusion, research and any actions thereof, towards re-directing the legislative and policy environment towards inclusion; 
  • To work with organisations whose goals are aligned with ours, and which respect the principle of leadership and full and effective participation of persons with psychosocial disabilities and our expertise on all matters that concern our lives and our rights, in the drive for social change;
  • To have a meaningful place in our societies, be it through paid work, social justice work, creative work, informal care and support work, or so on. We believe that an environment that facilitates the full development of our human potential in all its diversity will also further the social, economic, cultural and political advancement of our societies.


Declaration adopted by TCI Asia Pacific

5th “Classic Edition” Plenary of TCI Asia Pacific,

Bali, Indonesia,

29th August 2018.






Email: tciasia.secretariat@gmail.com     Web: https://tci-asia.org

[1] TCI Asia Pacific is an Asia Pacific alliance of persons with psychosocial disabilities from the Asia and Pacific regions, and their cross disability supporters, from 21 countries. The vision of TCI Asia Pacific is the implementation of CRPD for all persons with psychosocial disabilities. TCI Asia Pacific is focussed on expanding the pedagogy and practice, of the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities (Article 19 of the UNCRPD).

[2] Korean DPO and NGO Coalition for parallel report on CRPD (2014). INT_CRPD_CSS_KOR_18207_E. After the new mental health was implemented, over 90% admissions are involuntary. Average stay in mental hospitals is 247 days; 3693 days for those living in psychiatric sanatoriums.  See  CRPD Monitoring Committee List of Issues in relation to the initial report of the Republic of Korea. CRPD/C/KOR/Q/1 of 12th May, 2014.  

[3] Human Rights Watch, (2014). “Treated worse than animals. Abuses against women and girls with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in India”. https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/12/03/treated-worse-animals/abuses-against-women-and-girls-psychosocial-or-intellectual

Human Rights Watch, (2016). “Living in Hell. Abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities in Indonesia”. https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/03/20/living-hell/abuses-against-people-psychosocial-disabilities-indonesia

[4] Center for Advocacy in Mental Health (2006). “ECT in India”.  http://www.ect.org/?p=551, accessed online on 04-09-2018

[5] CRPD /C/GC/1, (2014) CRPD General Comment 1 on Right to Equal Recognition before the Law.

[6] CRPD/C/GC/3 (2016) General Comment on Women with disabilities.

[7] CRPD/C/GC/5 (2017) General Comment on Right to Living independently and being included in community.

[8] CRPD/C/GC/6 (2018) General Comment on Equality and Non – Discrimination.

[9] A/70/797

[10] A/71/314

[11] A/HRC/37/56

[12] A/HRC/34/55

[13] A/72/137


[15] A/HRC/34/32

[16] WHO Quality Rights Initiative (2017). http://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/quality_rights/en/

Outcomes of the Bali “Classic Edition” TCI Asia Plenary Meeting

TCI Asia plenaries are held every 2 to 3 years, where we try to create learning platform with contemporary issues of concern for us in the region.   The plenary forms an important space for new and old member country DPOs and individuals (where no DPO exists yet), from Asia (and now Pacific, too!) to come together, learn and share, build a regional vision and advocacy actions together.  21 countries and about 70 persons with psychosocial disabilities, and cross disability supporters, participated in the Bali Plenary from 26-29 August 2018, at Hotel Ayodhya, Nusa Dua.

Important outcomes are:

  • We renamed ourselves as “TCI Asia Pacific”, and we will cover the South Asia, South East Asia and Pacific regions. 

  • We adopted new countries (Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Fiji, Tonga, East Timor, HongKong) as members. 

  • As a way of responding to the forthcoming International mental health week, and showing our concern about the medical psychiatric expansion throughout our region, increasing the “global burden of barriers” for us, we adopted the “Bali Declaration”.   


The Bali Plenary was a huge success, in terms of outcomes. Country DPO groups are being formed,  emerging leaders who have been associated since long with our movement, are moving ahead in their national advocacy on Inclusion, and we are keeping ourselves updated about developments in global spaces.

Our learning thematic this year was, Inclusion in Development.  Our studies on Inclusion over the years has brought to us the knowledge that there are two “gates” through which a person with psychosocial stress, distress or disturbance, and the people in their environments,  may enter. One is the “Mental health” gate, the other is the “Development” gate. The first one leads to lowest minimum options (medication, institutionalization) and more often, the closure of the second gate, because of colonial laws widely prevalent in the sector. This closure of opportunities leads to “chronicity” and high support needs (which are not available in reality.)

Whereas, entering through the second gate is inclusive of the first gate also. A person may have access and opportunity to different kinds of supports and services in the community, among which health care may be one.

Watch for our Campaign in the International Mental Health Week, 

#WhatWENeed on Twitter 

#WhatWENeed on Facebook 




Brief Report: Realizing Article 19

Right to live independently and be included in communities

29th November, Lavasa, Maharashtra, India

Organized by TCI Asia

Supported by Bapu Trust, IDA, INTAR, CBM-A, DFAT, FGHR and Mariwala Health Initiative

About TCI Asia

TCI Asia (Transforming communities for Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities, Asia) is an Asian Alliance of people with psychosocial disabilities, and cross-disability supporters, focussing on Article 19 and its realization in the Asian region.  Since 2012, TCI Asia has made several country visits,  annual plenary consultations, strategy development workshops, and has engaged upto 15 member countries, to enhance the pedagogy and practice of Article 19 (Right to live independently and be included in communities).

Background to the RoundTable:

Most countries worldwide have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Policy is being informed by the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Together they provide a human rights based international jurisprudence for Disability Inclusive Development making a concerted transition towards creating more community based services and support systems, favouring choice, consent and community inclusion of persons with disabilities. This is much necessary for persons with psychosocial disabilities, who continue to face very high level of exclusion, discrimination and human rights violations.

International jurisprudence and policy frames

The World Report on Disability by the WHO and World Bank (2011)[1]  served as a landmark in enabling a transition from institution based mental health care to Disability Inclusive Development. Other than Concluding Observations, the UN CRPD Monitoring Committee has in the past brought out several important guidance documents, such as General Comment 1 on Article 12 (Right to equal recognition before the law). Further impetus on linking mental health and psychosocial disability to community development, has come from the “Thematic Study on Article 19” (Right to live independently and be included in communities), of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human rights  [A/HRC/28/37,  December, 2014] and the Guidelines on Article 14. In2016, the CRPD Committee was in attendance at the Day of General Discussion on Article 19 towards a General Comment on Article 19. [2] Recently, the UN DESA set out a Background paper on “Promoting the rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities”. The OHCHR adopted a Resolution on rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities [HRC 32]. The WHO has initiated efforts within and in partnership with collaborating agencies to come out with good practice reports, promoting explicitly a de-institutionalization process and community based mental health work having outcome of mainstreaming, leading to a number of synergizing efforts worldwide (Washington, Leicester, Trieste). A number of international grant and support agencies such as IDA, DFAT, CBR, CBM-A and others have been closely involved and  issued strategy statements on community based inclusion, especially of persons with psychosocial disabilities.

INTAR India 2016 continued the global efforts on interpreting and realizing Article 19. Several important individuals and organizations were represented at INTAR, including, UN CRPD committee members and other UN officers (from the office of the SR-Health; and SR-Disabilities; the WHO; INTAR professionals; various policy makers and academic institutions; practitioners; international development agencies including CBM, CBM-A; global organizations including WNUSP, IDA, other than TCI Asia members and other civil society organizations mobilizing around the human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.  For the first time, each and every high profile stakeholder within the disability and allied development sectors are coming together to strengthen efforts on realizing Article 19.

The objectives of 29th November RoundTable, was to sift the gains through the INTAR conference; to think through challenges in realizing  Article19 and in establishing community mental health and inclusion services. It would be an occasion when many important experts by experience, academics, policy makers and practitioners worldwide, who have met in multiple forums in the last couple of years for mining innovations, will be together yet again, to dialogue further and break new frontiers with respect to the community inclusion of persons with psycho-social disabilities.

The day was facilitated by Alex Cote (IDA) and Alberto Vasquez (Research co-ordinator, office of the SR, Disabilities). Adapting from the Theory of Change, the facilitators asked the question, “In 2031 – where do we want to be and what would we need to do to be there?” In the morning, this question was addressed. In the afternoon,  “What do we have (CPRD, QR, OHCHR, CRPD committee etc.) and how do we make best use of these? Key actions we can use in the near future and take this back? What can we action in 6, 12 months.” The opportunities for future work to create break throughs in the mental health discourse worldwide; and the possibilities opened up by such robust global convenings was appreciated.

Learnings from INTAR

The group shared learnings from INTAR India 2016. INTAR brought in participation from 40 countries. The conference has shown that over the last decades, there is palpable evidence for non-medical alternatives towards healing and recovery. All global and regional stakeholders were in the room. In our critique of mGMH and its many emerging variants, we cannot ignore the fact that we are a global community, global voices, with concrete illustrations of support and recovery work in diverse settings around the world. We have new arguments and data to challenge the conventional, colonial ways of doing mental health ‘treatment’ or dealing with people of ‘unsound mind’. It is clear by now that methods created in the global North did not work and that its a failure. Cross cultural exchange and dialogue, and learning from the global south, is important. The CRPD is a tool that can bridge the gap between human rights advocacy and service provision, giving newer designs for service delivery. Many good practice examples exist. Worldwide, the role of peer support groups were experienced as a most needed, critical and far reaching measure. Key messaging and materials created by the WHO encourage CRPD compliance. There is a need for another kind of global alliance  spirited by the CRPD. Bridge building across stakeholders, however divergent the view, is possible and needed. There is a need for more focus and linking on intersectionality and cross cutting Development issues, particularly gender and social justice. The international development community and donors have a responsibility to support such global convenings.

Visioning for Inclusion

A ‘draw a picture’ exercise was done, using chart paper and colours to envision inclusion. Groups did rich pictures and debriefed.

As global or regional actors, we share a strong common value base, the vision is the same. Practices may be different and need to be aligned.  “It is clear that we need to remove things, not just keep adding them”. Nature metaphors, the role of nature in healing, earth, tree, stars, sun, birds and garden were evident, compelling us to connect more with people working on environment issues. The search for caring communities, importance of love, rootedness, belonging and interconnectedness was strong coming from all the groups. People agreed that we all valued diversity, our right to silliness, having a voice, participation, being able to organize ourselves. There was a common aspiration / yearning; and a search for supportive communities. The ‘tornado’ / ‘hurricane’ metaphor suggested an urgent quest for change, and everybody wants it. We recalled programs like Open Dialogue, shamanism, peer support, which build on nature, connectedness and community. Also, we need to dialogue with national governments and regional policy bodies, to see how they can support the creation of supportive communities.

Responses to the question “In 2031 – where do we want to be and what would we need to do to get there?

  • There is a difference in discussion, how do we ensure that people never become people with psychosocial disabilities, versus, disability inclusion. Policies are adapting to this difference by 2031.
  • There is no World War III and it is a peaceful world. People begin questioning what did we do these last 15 years in mental health sector? New questions continue to be created around inclusion.
  • Policy makers are connected to people’s experiences of wellbeing and disabilities. Wider, bigger narratives emerge, they are convinced by the personal stories, and the issues are linked to vote banks!
  • Research data is amply available from universities and academia worldwide on the new visions on inclusion. Research agendas are influenced to diversify and evidence base for a diversity of models will be available.
  • Model policies and laws embed good practices as per the CRPD.
  • There is breakthrough in the media, so there is global visibility to this issue; and stories are re- told in the way they are said.
  • There are state champions at the policy level (mayors, governors, municipal corporators, presidents, etc.) and celebrity ambassadors, rock stars etc. to our common cause.
  • No new mental institutions have been created; World would have learnt from past errors (like we learnt from the world war). Existing ones have been reformed as safe houses, community and independent living centers, training centers, etc., and we have CRPD compliant laws.
  • There would have been continuing conversations among key stakeholders. There is individual and community agency and better awareness of mind-body connection; We have framed the approaches we know work, into other frameworks than just community development; There are fewer crisis because people and communities are better prepared; We know how to measure what is happening in a broader way (e.g. social capital); We know how to embed this in policy and practice; We continue engaging with diversity.
  • Evidence base is available from worldwide to demonstrate the significance of social capital in health and wellbeing.
  • We are included in all development schemes. SDGs start becoming a reality worldwide, and fewer people become people with psychosocial disabilities. Basic income program guarantees a standard of life. There is inclusive education and other social security schemes. More, a top up is available for all people so people can thrive. Families are safeguarded for thriving, so they are enabled to support and care.
  • There are excellent models of supported decision making and no barriers to exercise of full legal capacity.
  • Mental health is reclaimed as an integral part of our social and personal well being.
  • Schemes exist that incentivize people to stay out of the institutions and conventional treatments.
  • Policies worldwide embed the new vision of the UNCRPD. Focus is not just on needing more things, but on not needing somethings, and on what resources already exist in communities.

Actioning the vision(s):

What do we need to do in the next year or two to do this? 5 groups were formed around the following themes:

  1. Reframing public opinion – what are the options?
  2. Movement/alliance building (internally of the movement)
  3. Strengthening evidence and research (What works, furthering evidence)
  4. Exploring new alliances (broadening the circle, gender, environment,…)
  5. Policy makers – how do we influence them?  

Group1: Changing public opinion: How do we change the narrative?

  • Literary, media, communication studies and hubs can help in a big way to change the narrative.
  • Telling story is a skill – train people on how to tell stories. Stories of different kinds of people or entities can be told, capturing diversity and roles, not just stories of persons with disabilities.
  • Tell stories of what does not work, but also give examples of what is working and demonstrate how it is improving outcomes.
  • Complex stories may not have as much punch as stories, simply told. Tell stories with people and use as case studies.
  • Stories should transcend into research and build up social and community development theory to reach policy levels.
  • How do we reach society? Bottom up story telling (in cafes, universities, reading rooms, occupying other urban spaces, etc), horizontal story telling (telling stories to mental health professionals, etc.), top down story telling (try and get stories in the big media outlets).
  1. Group: Movement building (internally)
  • Spoke about how hard it is in the global south for people to speak out. E.g. countries where people can be killed for speaking out. In some countries, forming associations is legally out of question.
  • Learn from successes and difficulties from WNUSP, INTAR etc. E.g. WNUSP had success with regards to CRPD – what can we learn from this?
  • We can all have broader ideas, but it also helps to have some unified short term goals that we can all together focus on.

3 Group: research and evidence

  • There is huge potential for research on social innovations, community based interventions, and ‘alternatives’; Opportunities for new narratives, new research questions and new methodologies.
  • Use decades long Mad Studies / survivor / community development research that is already there, using lots of different approaches– community and participatory methods.
  • Cost-benefit analyses, budget analysis: we need to show how these alternatives are cost effective.
  • Align ourselves with existing community researchers and academics, as equal partners to forging new intelligence on inclusion.
  • Open up the minds of donors and grant making agencies to invest in Inclusion research and programming.
  • Modeling using participatory research, strategies to capture what is going on ‘metaanalytical approach’, utilizing what we consider the major domains of effectiveness
  • Influence policy makers to shift in their mindset of what constitutes evidence.
  • Communicate the outcomes of research efforts, not just in academic publishing, but in other ways as well.
  • Use Mad in America as an existing forum for sharing and utilising existing resources and evidence.
  • Lancet Psychiatry are doing ‘psychiatry futures’. Publish here.
  1. Group – Exploring new alliances:

Alliance with disability movement:

  • Need to strengthen alliance between mental health activism/advocacy with the cross-disability movement. In the latter, a person with a disability is not a ‘victim to be picked on’.
  • In India: it has been important to share the disability experience with other cross disability groups, to make ourselves more understandable. Bapu Trust made alliances with deaf advocacy groups (also invisible disabilities) and multiple disability groups. This enlarged the identity by engaging with most marginalised of disability groups.
  • Find methods of dialogue and common ground for work together. Disability organisations interested in issues of inter-sectionality and linkages with Development.

Alliance with other movements (e.g. gender, indigenous, minority groups, environmental movement, farmers movements – big issue in India)

  • In Indonesia, leaders of the psychosocial disability movement from PJS worked with gender movement on legislation around sexual harassment. So also, in Philippines, PDIP worked on the topic of gender violence.
  • Need to work with trade unions, basic services sector in urban areas, indigenous groups who often live on the fringes of cities, local opinion builders and spiritual groups, people living in urban slums, people’s health movement, self help movement, and other.
  • The idea of environment is crucial. A critical issue in LMICs is those who live in rural or in more complex geographical terrains. Farmers, rural areas, managing city waste, nutritional health in rapid urbanisation, housing (shelters movements) and poverty eradication – these issues are important to people with psychosocial disability; and also as secondary prevention.
  • Participation in other movements’ activities and in creating plans together, sharing movement news, contributing to the growth of other movements by taking up those issues.

Alliances with local governments – not just national

  • India: Partnership with Local Government. Some organizations in Asia have had great cooperation through engaging with local governments, which is particularly important if they have their own budgets that they can spend.

Build alliances in the political spaces – finding allies with personal experience of disability or interest in the area.

Alliances with funding bodies for fellowships etc. where possible

  • Invite investments into innovations that are CRPD compliant.
  • Encourage organizations and networks with traditional mental health care to transition to CRPD compliance.
  • Encourage investment in emerging leaders, mentoring relationships, exposure to national, regional, global advocacy and learning situations.

Alliance with the legal field, ageing movement, artists and the media. Also need to build and strengthen alliances with those who have control of funds and are responsible for resourcing.

Build alliances with human rights activists and other UN agencies.

  1. Group: policy makers – how do we reach and influence?
  • We want to challenge MH legislation – but we need alternative policy / legal responses to what we challenge. We must prepare for this.
  • A reality check – if we don’t get into public and policy agenda with more concerted actions, this MH law won’t change.
  • We need to frame around issues of development, social justice, non discrimination, equality etc. and not just about mental health.
  • We need to involve and influence donors – many donors are funding MH legislation.
  • We need to keep politicians accountable – they are afraid of noise!
  • We need the UN agencies to collectively send out a coherent message.
  • Litigation, harm caused by psycho-tropics, for example. We need champions at international level.
  • We need to open new doors and find ways for people with psychosocial disability to be engaged in policy making.
  • We need champions, ambassadors, messengers!

Conclusion: What are the ongoing processes which we can piggy back on?

  • Quality rights (WHO) – Next year there will be a process of global consultations.
  • CRPD committee – The committee is eager to know about the way to do things so that they can give more specific recommendations.
  • General Comment on Article 19: commenting on the draft, informal advocacy with members.
  • Special rapporteur on health – This meeting is helping develop a report to the Human Rights Council on the Right to Health. SR’s office is hoping to get a draft done soon and welcome input into that draft.
  • Special rapporteur on rights of persons with disabilities is working on a report on support services (particularly those that support people to live in communities). The office is also working largely and more broadly on issues of deprivation of liberty – and psychiatry is a big part of this.
  • SDGs – if there is more interest in MH, the issue is what will be the narrative that is promoted? Use offices above to influence dialogue about the SDGs. Also, the Incheon strategy, UN housing rights
  • Work with NGOs pushing for universal health coverage – make sure they don’t get it wrong! E.g. Oxfam. Tell them to be careful and not to do more harm than good. Influencing global networks pushing medical agendas.
  • IDA influence on Thematic meeting, OECD / ILO, and other associated advocacial efforts within larger global cross disability movement.

IDA will work on a 5 page report along with Alberto, for taking next steps.

[1] http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/en/

[2] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CallDGDtoliveindependently.aspx

Civil Society Response to COSP Background paper “Promoting the humanrights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities”


Promoting the human rights of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities


Note by Civil Society Co-ordination Mechanism


The present document was prepared by a small working group for the Civil Society Co-ordination Mechanism, on the basis of available information, towards the round-table discussion on the background paper, “Promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities”, to be held at the ninth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, New York.

The members of the Civil Society Co-ordination Mechanism are extremely concerned that the background paper is developed completely within the bio-medical paradigm, and not the social paradigm as framed by the CRPD. The paper, while promoting the global mental health agenda of ‘filling the treatment gap’, remains silent on the topics of forced institutionalization, coercive psychiatry, and the vexatious continued use of inhuman, degrading, cruel treatments…

View original post 4,472 more words

Reshma Valliappan on International Women’s Day 2016

Reshma Valliappan, also known as Val Resh, is an artist-activist for a number of issues related to mental health, disability, sexuality and human rights. She lives with schizophrenia without medication and is providing the early voice and leadership for persons living with mental illness to speak and advocate for their own rights. –


See more at: http://www.patientsengage.com/news-and-views/irrespective-mental-health-issues-family-friends-must-respect-woman#sthash.LKd5Q3OK.dpuf

Invitation to the Inclusion survey

The Bapu Trust in collaboration with TCI-Asia is compiling a Survey Report on

‘Good practices on the Inclusion of persons with psycho-social disabilities’

 covering the Asia region. The report will cover the present status of Inclusion of people with psycho-social disabilities; and  good practices that will facilitate full and effective participation and inclusion in communities.

The survey invites your views on Good Practices on the Inclusion of persons living with (or who have experienced) mental health problems/psycho-social disability. Your participation in this study is crucial to understanding the evolving state of inclusion of persons with psycho-social disabilities: What facilitates their full and effective participation in families and communities?

The survey is an online Google survey. The form is in English, and will take about 20 minutes to fill (not including any translation time that may be involved.)

A big motivation for this study is to find out, what means “Reasonable Accommodation” (RA) for persons with psycho-social disabilities. In the disability movement, implementing RA is considered as key for full and effective participation. What is RA for persons with psycho-social disabilities?

We invite you to participate in the survey. Please also share in your networks, and invite your peers to participate in the google survey.

Shikha Aleya at shikha.aleya@gmail.com is co-ordinating the survey for TCI Asia. Do get in touch with her for any clarifications or questions.

Please follow the link below to participate in this survey:-
We request you to please share this link and invitation to participate, with all members of your network who self identify as persons with psycho-social disabilities.
The survey will be open for your kind participation till the 15th of February 2016.

“Dignity must prevail” – Special Rapporteurs on World Mental Health Day

“Dignity must prevail” – Special Rapporteurs on World Mental Health Day

“Dignity must prevail” – An appeal to do away with non-consensual psychiatric treatment World Mental Health Day – Saturday 10 October 2015

GENEVA (8 October 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina  Devandas-Aguilar, and on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, today called on States to eradicate all forms of non-consensual psychiatric treatment.

Speaking ahead of the World Mental Health Day*, the independent experts urged Governments to put an end to arbitrary detention, forced institutionalisation and forced treatment, in order to ensure that persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities are treated with dignity and their human rights respected.

“Locked in institutions, tied down with restraints, often in solitary confinement, forcibly injected with drugs and overmedicated, are only few illustrations of the ways in which persons with disabilities, or those perceived to be so, are treated without their consent, with severe consequences for their physical and mental integrity.

Globally, persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities face discrimination, stigma and marginalization and are subject to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community.  And every year, the rights and dignity of hundreds of thousands of people across the world are violated as a consequence of non-consensual psychiatry interventions.

All too often persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities are formally or informally destitute of their legal capacity and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in psychiatric hospitals, other specialized institutions, and other similar settings.

Dignity cannot be compatible with practices of force treatment which may amount to torture. States must halt this situation as a matter of urgency and respect each person’s autonomy, including their right to choose or refuse treatment and care.

Without freedom from violence and abuse, autonomy and self-determination, inclusion in the community and participation in decision-making, the inherent dignity of the person becomes an empty concept.  The international community needs to acknowledge the extent of these violations, which are broadly accepted and justified in the name of psychiatry as a medical practice.

The concept of ‘medical necessity’ behind non-consensual placement and treatment falls short of scientific evidence and sound criteria. The legacy of the use of force in psychiatry is against the principle ‘primum non nocere’ (first do no harm) and should no more be accepted.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities offers a promising occasion for a shift of paradigm in mental health policies and practices. This year’s World Mental Health Day stresses more than ever the need to elaborate new models and practices of community-based services that are respectful of the dignity and integrity of the person.

It is a good timing to take stock of the recent entering into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to open a dialogue amongst all stakeholders, including users of services, policy makers and mental health professionals to work on human rights based solutions which may provide answers to the questions brought forward by the Convention’s standards.

We call on States to end all instances of arbitrary detention, forced institutionalisation and forced treatment, to ensure that persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities are treated with dignity and are provided their rights to have their decisions respected at all times, and to have access to the needed support and accommodation to effectively communicate such decisions.”

(*) World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations, is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide. This year’s theme is: “Dignity in Mental Health.”

See more at: “Dignity must prevail” – An appeal to do away with non-consensual psychiatric treatment World Mental Health Day – Saturday 10 October 2015

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Opening Statement by Mr James Heenan at the CRPD Monitoring Committee Meeting, 14th Session

Excerpts from …

Statement by Mr James Heenan at the CRPD Monitoring Committee Meeting, 14th Session

Mr. James Heenan is Chief, Groups in Focus Section, Human Rights Treaties Division of the OHCHR, United Nations

Geneva, 17 August 2015

All opening statements to the 14th Session of the UNCRPD committee meeting can be found here…


” This morning I would like to share some information relating to developments in four areas of relevance to the Committee’s work:

  • the recent meeting of chairpersons of treaty bodies;
  • the elaboration of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • developments at the Human Rights Council; and
  • recent work of OHCHR on the rights of persons with disabilities.

“… I would like to now turn to the on-going intergovernmental process on the Sustainable Development Goals for the post 2015 period. The goals, targets and indicators that are the centrepiece of this initiative have the potential to provide a new and powerful means for addressing some of the chronic human rights situations we face today, such as poverty, discrimination and the lack of access to education to name but a few. This transformative potential of the SDGs, building on the lessons of the MDG process, has been long recognized by the human rights treaty bodies. CRPD, along with other committees, has regularly sounded the call for the new framework be anchored in the internationally agreed human rights norms and standards. This message was reiterated by State parties at the 8th Conference of States parties to the Convention, held in New York in June 2015, which focused on the mainstreaming of disability in the post-2015 development agenda.  In his closing remarks,  the President of the Conference noted that the common message among States Parties identified during the Conference was that mainstreaming of disability is an imperative for the new economic and social development agenda.

On Sunday 2 August, Member States endorsed by consensus the Post-2015 Outcome Document: “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.  The Outcome Document – which is available on the website of the President of the General Assembly – will now be submitted to the Heads of State for adoption at the UN Summit in September.  While not perfect, the text exhibits a number of very welcome human rights features. First and foremost, it is explicitly grounded in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the international human rights treaties. Further, throughout the preambular language, the goals and the targets, the text offers a universal, integrated and indivisible vision of sustainable development, encompassing key dimensions of all human rights related to both freedom from want as well as freedom from fear. It also puts combatting inequalities, discrimination and exclusion at its heart, and includes a very expansive list of groups to be given special focus, including – prominently – persons with disabilities. I would also note that the text specifically addresses issues of accessibility, for example in respect of transport and green spaces. Linked to the identification of groups, another noteworthy feature of the text is the call for disaggregated data as part of the global indicator framework, responding to a key lesson learned from the MDG process. And finally the text outlines an accountability architecture at national, regional and global levels.  Although there remain shortcomings in the extent to which the SGD have embraced human rights, I think all of the elements I have just mentioned should be cause for celebration among the human right community.

…            Accountability for the SDGs is grounded in the indicators that will measure progress towards the targets and goals . These indicators are currently being deliberated, and a preliminary list of indicators will be published in November 2015, after the adoption of the SDGs. Indicators provide a crucial means of ensuring that human rights lie at the heart of the post 2015 architecture by ensuring that information collected exposes – as far as possible – the reality on the ground of people’s enjoyment of their human rights. For this reason it is important that human rights voices, including those of the CRPD, are heard in this process.”

…            “On 29 April 2015, just after the conclusion of the Committee’s last session, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted the its text of the “Basic Principles and Guidelines on remedies and procedures on the right of anyone deprived of their liberty to bring proceedings before a court”. The new Guidelines contain a separate provision on specific measures for persons with disabilities. That provision, Principle 20, makes it clear that the involuntary committal or internment on the ground of the existence of an impairment or perceived impairment, particularly on the basis of psychosocial or intellectual disability or perceived psychosocial or intellectual disability, is prohibited. The Guidelines also provide that where persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law, necessarily including the right to liberty and security of the person, reasonable accommodation, and humane treatment. The basic principles and guidelines will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 30th session next month.”

Thank you


CBR Congress, Tokyo Declaration on CBID 2015

Shared by Mari Yamamoto from Japan

Tokyo Declaration on Community-based Inclusive Development

We, the representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities and other non-governmental organizations on Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR)/Community-based Inclusive Development (CBID, also known as CBR), governments, development agencies, donors and the business sector from 46 countries/areas in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world, in total 553 delegates, participated in the third Asia-Pacific CBR Congress on September 1-3, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Our special thanks are due to the organizers of the Congress: the CBR Asia-Pacific Network, the Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (JSRPD) and the Japan NGO Network on Disabilities (JANNET) in collaboration with the partner organizations* for their hard work to make the Congress successful.

We appreciate the efforts made by the international community to include disability explicitly in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will be adopted by the United Nations as a set of global consensus for poverty reduction in line with the principle of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the CBR Guidelines, the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real (2013-2022) and other international instruments.

CBID is one poverty reduction strategy in terms of the inclusion of persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups in any developmental process, regardless of their economic and social development stage. With such view in relation to the proposed SDGs, the following is recommended by the participants based on the intensive discussions during the Congress:

1) CBID to be recognized as an effective strategy for achieving the SDGs and leaving no one behind;

2) CBID to focus on inclusion, peacebuilding, poverty reduction, facilitating community empowerment, introduction and access to customized services, disaster risk reduction, justice for all, and collaboration and mobilization of community resources;

3) International cooperation on CBID to be strengthened between organizations of persons with disabilities, national and local governments, other partners and stakeholders for building the capabilities of persons with diverse disabilities, and SDGs implementation and progress monitoring at all levels in Asia and the Pacific; and,

4) The Fourth Asia-Pacific CBR Congress to be convened in Mongolia in 2019.

Presented and unanimously adopted
at the Third Asia-Pacific CBR Congress, September 3, 2015

* World Health Organization, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan Disability Forum, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation, CBM, Japanese Physical Therapy Association, The Nippon Foundation, Japanese Association of Occupational Therapists, Beyond MDGs Japan, The Kirin Foundation, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Welfare Foundation 

Introducing ‘Cusp: The Journal’


“CUSP is Critical Psychology in India.
Critical Psychology in India is also about Cultural Psychology.
Cultural Psychology in India is however about a ‘critique of culture’ in psychology
(and not just a ‘culture of critique’ in psychology).
CUSP is thus about ‘critical cultures’ and ‘cultural critiques’ in psychology.”

The first volume is on Violence.

Editorial from Anup Dhar


Anup Dhar

Given the focus on mental health to the exclusion of larger socio-cultural (as also political economy) questions, given the study of larger socio–cultural questions to the exclusion of questions of subjectivity and human relationalities, CUSP wishes to engage with questions of mental health and culture-subjectivity in their intimate imbrications. Through such an engagement CUSP wishes to expand and deepen the engagement (a) the field of mental health has at present with questions of culture, and (b) the space social science has at present with questions of intersubjectivity.

CUSP wishes to rethink the space of culture and subjectivity in their intimate imbrications with questions of mental health (as also to develop in the process an integrated approach to mental health). CUSP is a research initiative that is trying to extend critical human science concerns and questions (that includes questions of culture and subjectivity) to spaces that attend to mental health in terms of research, pedagogy, or alleviation of suffering; it is in turn bringing into human science spaces, concerns, and questions that inhabit the space of mental health. Taking off from the interface, interaction, and integration of the concerns and questions of these two spaces that have hitherto remained separate and alien to each other, CUSP is trying to rethink (and critically reflect upon) the question of mental health in India in the context of questions of culture, subjectivity, and psychic economies. One may immediately ask, what is there to rethink. Is it not enough to just apply the tools we already have (tools that either are derived from the west or are inherited from an Indian past)? Why can’t we just apply existing western thought or apply them at most in a slightly reformed way–reformed so as to suit Indian conditions? Here one must keep in mind that there is consensus on the fact that the existing forms of application are indeed a problem; the mental institutions lack infrastructure and facilities; human rights violation of the sufferer is an added problem. However, there is difference on the solutions that are being offered. Some see it is as a problem of application itself; for them it is an administrative problem; others see it as a problem particular to India. We, on the other hand, see the problem as not a problem just of application but of knowledge; it is not just a problem of the application of (western) tools to (Indian) contexts, but of the very tools (here knowledge) that are being applied (both western and eastern). This sets up the context of the two sets of questions CUSP wishes to engage with. The first concerns larger cultural questions (which include cultures of intimacy, aggression, violence, suffering, and love to name a few) and the second the more circumscribed space of attending to mental health, which in turn could lead to four questions: (1) the question of knowledge; what is it that we are applying? (2) the question of context; where are we applying; what are the different applications that are at work in India? (3) the question of the subject of suffering; on whom are we applying? (4) the question of the subject of knowledge; who is applying?”

On legal capacity: Letter submitted to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi


Shri Awanish Kumar Awasthi JT. Secretary (DePwD) Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment New Delhi Dated 1st July, 2015

Subject: Proposed forrmuations on issue of guardianship of adult persons with disabilities. Ref: Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill


We, the persons with disabilities and the persons working for the cause of persons with disabilities listed at the end of this submission have gone through the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014. For many persons with disabilities, particularly those with psychosocial and developmental disabilities, a large factor that plays in their marginalization is the lack of recognition of legal capacity. In not reaffirming this right, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013, has done a great disservice to the principles of the UNCPRD which it seeks to enforce in India. The issue of legal capacity is one which goes to the root of exercise of rights of persons with disabilities, particularly persons with psychosocial and developmental disabilities, and it must be recognized in sans conditions in this legislation which purports to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities. The lack of recognition of legal capacity has led to myriad restrictions upon persons with disabilities in India in personal, contractual, and political spheres. Recently, the Human Rights Watch Report entitled “Treated Worse than Animals: Abuses against Women and Girls with Psychosocial or Intellectual Disabilities in Institutions in India” highlights the lack of legal capacity and enforced guardianship to be a strong factor in the eventual abuse that is meted out to women and girls with disabilities.

Persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities themselves appeared before the Committee in Chennai expressing their reservations with the laws on guardianship. We are extremely delighted by the observation of the Committee, which we are hereby reproducing as follows:

“The Committee note that though the Government have already decided to substitute/recast clause 13(1) and (2) suitably by extending provisions of the clause to all disabled persons yet they feel that there is a possibility of the same going against the right to equality and non-discrimination provisions in the Bill and the Constitution of India as well. The Committee desire the Ministry to have a revisit on the aspect of guardianship and if necessary invite views of some prominent NGOs and stakeholders in the matter.”

We submit that from the time of the drafting of the Bill in 2010, the issues surrounding guardianship and the discourse around Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has evolved immensely. In 2014, a General Comment was released by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the following effect:

“28. States parties’ obligation to replace substitute decision-making regimes by supported decisionmaking requires both the abolition of substitute decision-making regimes and the development of supported decision-making alternatives. The development of supported decision-making systems in parallel with the maintenance of substitute decision-making regimes is not sufficient to comply with article 12 of the Convention… …While supported decision-making regimes can take many forms, they should all incorporate certain key provisions to ensure compliance with article 12 of the Convention, including the following: (a) Supported decision-making must be available to all. A person’s level of support needs, especially where these are high, should not be a barrier to obtaining support in decision-making; (b) All forms of support in the exercise of legal capacity, including more intensive forms of support, must be based on the will and preference of the person, not on what is perceived as being in his or her objective best interests; (c) A person’s mode of communication must not be a barrier to obtaining support in decision-making, even where this communication is non-conventional, or understood by very few people; (d) Legal recognition of the support person(s) formally chosen by a person must be available and accessible, and States have an obligation to facilitate the creation of support, particularly for people who are isolated and may not have access to naturally occurring support in the community. This must include a mechanism for third parties to verify the identity of a support person as well as a mechanism for third parties to challenge the action of a support person if they believe that the support person is not acting in accordance with the will and preferences of the person concerned; (e) In order to comply with the requirement, set out in article 12, paragraph 3, of the Convention, for States parties to take measures to “provide access” to the support required, States parties must ensure that support is available at nominal or no cost to persons with disabilities and that lack of financial resources is not a barrier to accessing support in the exercise of legal capacity; (f) Support in decision-making must not be used as justification for limiting other fundamental rights of persons with disabilities, especially the right to vote, the right to marry, or establish a civil partnership, and found a family, reproductive rights, parental rights, the right to give consent for intimate relationships and medical treatment, and the right to liberty; (g) The person must have the right to refuse support and terminate or change the support relationship at any time; (h) Safeguards must be set up for all processes relating to legal capacity and support in exercising legal capacity. The goal of safeguards is to ensure that the person’s will and preferences are respected. (i) The provision of support to exercise legal capacity should not hinge on mental capacity assessments; new, non-discriminatory indicators of support needs are required in the provision of support to exercise legal capacity.”

It is clear that any law which permits exceptions to independent exercise of legal capacity cannot limited to persons with disabilities alone. This would make it prima facie violative of the CRPD. There are various situations in which persons may require varying levels of support in decision making. In the circumstances, it is prayed that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill may omit all references to guardianship and instead provisions relating to legal capacity may be recast as suggested in the annexure to this submission.

With regard to guardianship, we refer to the proposed National Trust for Providing High Support for Persons with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2011. We call upon the Ministry to hold a consultation as advised by the Hon’ble Committee immediately and consider reviving the drafting of the same, in consultation with persons with disabilities themselves, and recast the existing mechanisms and bodies under the National Trust Act, 1999 to work towards supporting all persons who require assistance in enabling decision making by them in accordance with the observations in the General Comment. To reiterate, this law must make an unequivocal statement guaranteeing the right to legal capacity to all persons, and the regulations regarding the realization of this right must be prioritized by the Ministry.

Thanking you,

Best regards,

Prepared by Amba Salelkar and Bhargavi Davar For the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse, Pune http://www.baputrust.org/ bapucrpdadvocacy@gmail.com

With inputs from:

Meenakshi B., Equals Centre for Promotion of Social Justice, Chennai Rajiv Rajan, Ektha, Chennai

Supported by:

1. Abdul Mabood, Snehi, New Delhi

2. Deepa, Unnati Organisation for Development Education

3. Disability Legislation Unit (South), Vidya Sagar, Chennai

4. Dr. Srilatha Juvva, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

5. Equals Centre for Promotion of Social Justice, Chennai

6. Gautam Chaudhary, Kolkata

7. Jashodhara Dasgupta, New Delhi

8. Mahesh Chandrasekhar, Bangalore

9. Nidhi Goyal, gender and disability rights activist, Mumbai

10. Nilesh Singhit, Disability Rights Activist, Mumbai

11. Prof. V.S. Sunder, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai

12. R. Srivatsan, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

13. Sarbani Dasroy, Iswar Sankalpa, Kolkata

14. Shivani Gupta, Accessability, New Delhi

15. Sudha Raghunathan, Chennai

16. Sudha Ramamoorthy, Chennai

17. Swadhikaar, Hyderabad

18. T.M.N. Deepak, December 3 Movement, Chennai


Section 2 – Definitions clause – to be added

‘discrimination on the basis of disability’ means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field and includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation;

Section 3 – to be redrafted

(1) It is recognized that disability is a part of human diversity, much like race, gender and religion, and that all persons with disabilities have an inherent right to equality before and under the law are entitled to the equal protection of the laws without any discrimination.

(2) No person shall be discriminated against on the ground of disability, and all persons with disabilities shall be provided with reasonable accommodation to provide for the effective realization of this right.

(3) Any legislation or policy or programme enacted by the State designed to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered to be discrimination under this Section.

Section 12 – to be redrafted Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law at the time being in force:

(1) Persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law, and enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. Any express or implied disqualification on the grounds of disability prescribed in any legislation, rule, notification, order, bye-law, regulation, custom or practice which has the effect of depriving any person with disability of legal capacity shall not be legally enforceable from the date of enforcement of this Act.

(2) Where deemed necessary by a person with disability, the person shall have a right to be given unconflicted support and reasonable accommodation in accessing information, understanding conseqences and liabilities, communication of decision, affirming decisions, and other aspects of decision making. The legal capacity of a person with disability shall not be questioned or denied, irrespective of the degree and extent of support, by reason of accessing support to exercise legal capacity. No person shall be deemed to require any form of supported or substituted decision making on the ground of having any impairment.

(3) The appropriate Government shall ensure that the persons with disabilities have right, equally with others, to own or inherit property, movable or immovable, control their financial affairs and have access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit.

(4) The appropriate Government shall enact specific legislation including appropriate rules, notifications and bye laws, enabling the exercise of legal capacity before concerned authorities and service providers.

(5) All persons with disabilities presently under any form of guardianship under the National Trust Act, 1999, or the Mental Health Act, 1987, shall have the right to have their guardianship reconsidered before the authority constituted by the Appropriate Government that had approved of their guardianship, and in the event that the person with disability is aggrieved by the order passed on the application for reconsideration, the said order can be appealed in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Section 13. To be removed

Section 14.

(1) The appropriate Government shall designate one or more authorities to mobilise the community and create social awareness to support persons with disabilities in exercise of their legal capacity.

(2) The authority designated under sub-section (1) shall take measures for setting up suitable support arrangements to exercise legal capacity by persons with disabilities living in institutions and those with high support needs and any other measures as may be required.

Section 109 – to be redrafted

(1) The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force and to the extent of such inconsistency that other law shall be deemed to have no effect.

(2)The provisions of this Act or the rules made there under shall be in addition and not in derogation of any other legislation, rules, orders or instructions which provides any entitlement or benefit to persons with disabilities.

Circle of care on the streets… Works by Sarbani Dasroy in ‘The Hindu’

Please find below article by Mr. Harsh Mander on caring …

May 2, 2015 17:15, The Hindu


“Man or woman perched on a waste dump. Covered with grime. Matted, unkempt hair. Nearly naked. Name forgotten. Family forgotten. Muttering inscrutable words. Wandering aimlessly. Solitary. Profoundly lost to the world.

We see many such people in the cities we inhabit. What do they inspire in our hearts? Revulsion? Fear? A fleeting passive pity? Or most likely, just indifference?

Sarbani was different. Heading an international NGO, walking the streets of Kolkata with a psychiatrist friend, she asked him what the fate would be of such people. He replied – probable lonely, early, anonymous death. She asked him of what they would die. The answer – because they lose the idea of self-care, they may simply die one day of dehydration, of thirst.

Sarbani quit her well-paying job, formed a group of caring young people to work with, registered an organisation called Iswar Sankalpa, and looked for answers to what appeared an unsolvable human tragedy. The answers they found hold extraordinary life-lessons for all of us.

A few decades back, such gravely mentally ill persons would have been incarcerated in high-walled mental hospitals and sometimes in jails, naked and chained, subjected to daily indignities and therapy including electric shocks, locked away from the world. Today it is recognised that these patients should best be cared for in open hospitals and within families.

But what happens to abandoned mentally ill persons who have no family? They endure a double whammy – of mental illness and homelessness.

Today medical science still has not found a cure for severe psychoses, but within a few weeks, medicines can control nearly all one’s debilitating symptoms, limiting confusions and the chances of self-harm. But who would provide these medicines daily to homeless mentally ill patients who have no one in the world?

The answer which Sarbani and her colleagues proposed was that surely there are caring people in every community, who if identified and educated, could become proxy families of these lost and forgotten souls. They first surveyed the city and found 466 such homeless psychotic patients. They found also that homeless mentally ill people often have a sense of belonging, such as to a particular stretch of pavement.

Eight fine young men and women then set about looking for caring people in these stretches frequented by each of these patients. They soon affirmed that indeed there is no shortage of compassionate people. They found them mostly among working class street vendors, but a few even among the middle classes.

During a night round through the streets of Kolkata in 2007, the team met a near-naked man beside a garbage dump near the Khidderpore flyover, chanting verses from the Koran. Investigating further, they learnt that a grain shopkeeper Mohammed Nihal gave this man lunch every day, even shared his morning tea with him, and gave him clothes. Nihal readily agreed to become his caregiver, and persuaded the man to attend a medical camp. In the camp, he identified himself as Abdullah. The team members bathed him, and a barber agreed to cut his hair and shave him. The doctor diagnosed him with hallucinatory schizoaffective disorder.

Within a month, Abdullah appeared more relaxed. He still communicated in sign language, but after five more months, began to speak. He also started to help Nihal in his shop. As time passed, he recalled that his name was Suresh Kamble, who worked as a radiologist Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital. But he insisted that he did not want to return to his family, and instead wanted only to stay with Nihal.

I met them seven years later. I found that Suresh was like a member of Nihal’s family, his friend and his most trusted shop assistant. Nihal insisted that his children give Suresh the respect due to any family elder. Nihal only worries what will happen after Suresh’s death. Suresh insists that he should be buried as a Muslim. But Nihal feels he is still a Hindu and should be cremated with Hindu rites. It is one argument that the friends have not resolved.


A homeless, fierce-looking man in his 30s, in tattered, clothes with long tangled hair and beard, unwashed body and malnourished frame restlessly roamed Bijon Setu, the flyover near Ballygunge Railway Station. When field worker Swapan initially approached him, he refused even to speak to him, or accept food or water from his hands. It took Swapan steady and gentle persistence over several weeks to win his trust. Finally he agreed to let Swapan take him to their psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with schizophrenia.

Swapan then looked around for willing caregivers. He found them in Sunil, who operates a soft drinks vending stall, and Kanan Mondal, an ageing widow selling tea under the flyover. Both agreed to help the man. The street barber agreed to cut his hair. He came to called Bijon after the flyover which was his chosen roaming ground.

He gradually accepted medicines, hygiene care, food and counselling therapy and slowly started regaining his memory. He remembered his real name to be Mohammed Asif Iqbal and that he lived in his maternal uncle’s home in Rajabazar. A visit to his home revealed Bijon’s melancholy past. He lost his mother at an early age, and was abandoned in his uncle’s home by his father. Uncared for, he befriended local boys who initiated him into hard drugs. This aggravated his mental health distress further. He was beaten and berated by neighbours and family members, and once arrested by the police.

When I met him some months later, I found Bijon clean, shaven and calm. He still lives at the flyover, as he is unwilling to return home. His memories of abuse and neglect haunt him. He has grown to like and trust his new friends Swapan, Sunil Babu and Kanak Mashi. The afternoon I met him, I found him sitting with them between their stalls. He said to me that he was due to meet another friend. This turned out that a volunteer Anirban, employed in an IT company nearby, who volunteered to visit him during his lunch-break every day. Anirban arrived soon after. In his hands was a packed box of biryani, which he brought to share with Bijon.


I met another caregiver, 18-year-old Sanjay, a pavement tea-seller in the busy commercial area Dhakuria. A middle-aged mentally ill man roamed his pavement, and Sanjay agreed to give him medicines with his tea twice a day. As he recovered, he refused to return to his home. Sanjay spoke to an acquaintance who hires out cycle-rickshaws to rent a rickshaw to Bapida, as he called his new friend. The rickshaw-owner was doubtful. What if he damaged the rickshaw? However, Sanjay stood guarantee for him, and had to mollify the owner for early damages to the rickshaw. But in time, Bapida settled down. He drinks tea with Sanjay, and sleeps on the pavement near his hand-cart at night.

I spoke with Sanjay while he was boiling and pouring out steaming tea expertly to his many customers. I asked him why he did what he did. He smiled a little, then only said, “Bhalo lage (I just like doing this).”

Background paper prepared by Bapu Trust, for meeting on de-institutionalization and thinking alternatives, 14th-15th April 2015, New Delhi

Brainstorming meeting on institutions for children and persons with disabilities:

Thinking alternatives

14th, 15th April 2015, New Delhi

Organized by Center for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Bapu Trust

A background note

India ratified the UNCRPD in 2008, and has an obligation to ensure all human rights for all persons with disabilities. Among the rights placed center stage for the forthcoming meeting, are the following:

Article 19: Right to live independently and be included in the community

Article 14: Right to liberty and security

Article 15: Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading punishment or treatment

Article 16: Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

Article 17: Protecting the integrity of the person

Article 12: Equal recognition before the law

These rights of course must be read in tandem with other important Articles of the CRPD including ones on Right to Health and rehabilitation (25, 26); Equality and Non discrimination (5); Right to life (10); Articles on women and children (6, 7).

Over the last decades many of us have been concerned about the nature of institutions and lack of community based alternatives for children, men and women with disabilities. Events relating to Erwady asylum in Tamil Nadu, India, in 2001; and Asha Kiran, New Delhi, in the last few years, have highlighted the serious need to reform the disability sector from a human rights perspective. A recent report by Human Rights Watch [i], the Zero Draft of the UNCRPD Monitoring Report put out by NCPEDP [ii], the legal works and reports of Dr Asha Bajpai relating to the Mumbai High court proceedings on the massive scale of abuse against children with intellectual disabilities provoke civil society into taking human rights actions yet again. Meetings have been held by a variety of groups [iii] [iv] [v] including the recent National consultation by the Indian network of Women with Disabilities, protesting those abuses and violations that happen behind closed doors. Depositions, litigation and other efforts by HRLN lawyers in different parts of the country have also been around the issue of forced institutionalization, to protect Article 21 of the Indian constitution for persons with disabilities.

In the international front, even though there is ample scope for negotiation, the World Health Organization (WHO) at the least admitted that the presence of these laws have not secured respect and the safeguard of human rights [vi].  In the case of Korean submission before the UNCRPD Monitoring Committee, civil society made it amply clear that mental health legislations or any ‘special’ legislations result in the phenomenal increase in custodial institutions. In India too, following Erwady tragedy, custodial institutions have grown phenomenally in the private sector and ‘mentally ill’ patients are the only “health care consumers” who pay to get themselves involuntarily arrested and committed. UNCRPD committee Concluding Observations in a variety of country contexts, but most pointedly, in the case of China, have given clear directions for de-institutionalization and for realizing Article 19. The General Comment on Article 12 issued by the CRPD monitoring Committee [vii] has clearly directed that the right to legal capacity be ensured in health care settings. In 2008, The UN SR on Torture had already declared that institutionalization may constitute torture or ill-treatment if detention is indefinite. In 2013, the SR on torture, and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment expanded on this position and prohibited a wide variety of custodial practices found in the disability sector worldwide (medical treatments lacking therapeutic purpose; restraints; seclusion; coercive and non-consensual treatments; forced medication; electroshock procedures). The UN SR on Violence Against Women who visited India in 2012 also critically commented on forced sterilization and involuntary commitment, and concomitant violence on women and girls with disabilities. Also see an earlier Commission Resolution, viz. ‘Basic Principles and guidelines…’  which clearly mentions criminal sanctions against perpetrators of psychiatric detention and compulsory treatment [viii]. The WGHR group which intervenes in the UPR process of the United nations OHCHR and the Human Rights Council critically documented human rights violations of persons, especially women, with disabilities in the context of enforced detention and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments[ix]. Not happy with the coverage of the WGHR submission, and mentored by the International Disability Alliance, the National Disability Alliance submitted its own UPR report focusing on disability rights [x].

Against this scenario, emerging groups of persons with psychosocial disabilities in the Asian region (TCI-Asia) has advocated as follows:

“… many countries in Asia are bereft of any kind of community support systems for people with psychosocial disabilities. Some of those countries are poised for drafting and adopting a Mental health law, contrary to world experience of vast human rights violations within institutions. The Asian region is geographically, culturally and linguistically diverse with complex social systems. Devising strategies for Inclusion of persons with disabilities has to factor in this dynamism through local mental health programs integrated with community development.”

On the question of ‘If not institutions, what else…?’ a large set of accumulating knowledge is growing, on community based practices. In a very significant and celebratory moment, the resolution 25/20 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released this year, their findings of  a study on the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community (art. 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). The study has defined ‘institutions’ in a new way, suggesting that institutionalization is a mental attitude rather than a material structure. The study enumerates a variety of good practices on living independently and being included in communities. Commitments of Asian region countries to the Incheon Strategy is yet another way by which persons with disabilities can inch their way forward into the development arena with dignity. While these pathways may be difficult, it is upto communities and collectives to open new doors for our inclusion in development.

CBR has inhabited the disability and development world for a long time. The World Report on Disability (2012) engaged world communities of people working in the disabilities sectors, to create enabling environments close to communities, taking the CBR framework forward. Inclusion International brought out two comprehensive reports [xi] [xii], where ‘Inclusion’ has become the guiding principle for all interventions: Any intervention that excludes people with disabilities from communities is considered as bad Development practice. Moving from their earlier 2010 Guidelines, CBM (2014) came up with a strategy paper on Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities, describing good practices relevant to the Global South. The Trans Asian group of persons with psychosocial disabilities put together a document on good practices on Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in Bangkok, November, 2014.

Among several ideas, some common themes for such ‘Inclusion services’ are: supported networks at the community and family level and civil registrations thereof; foster parenting of those without any support systems; independent living communities; peer support, friendship and alternative social systems; groups and grassroots organizations of social workers, self advocates and community supporters on Inclusion; neighbourhoods and development practices in urban areas; a spectrum of all essential services in low income communities; and organizations that can build the capacities of communities on Inclusion.

[i] www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/india_forUpload.pdf “Treated worse than animals”. Human Rights Watch, 2014.

[ii] NCPEDP, 2013. Report on the CRPD implementation in India- Zero draft. NCPEDP, New Delhi.

[iii] NAAJMI (2009) NAAJMI, ‘Bill of Rights: Insights of a Mad Pride Campaign (2005-2008)’. Ed. Bhargavi Davar. Mental health Advocacy Resources, Volume II. Pune: Bapu Trust for Research on Mind & Discourse.

[iv] (2013), “Protection of Children with Disabilities – The Way Forward….” Organized by Aarth Astha, Seminar Hall No.3, India International Centre, 40, Max Muller Marg, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. 25th June 2013.

[v] (2012), The Disabled Rights Group (DRG) and National Alliance on Access to Justice for People Living with a Mental Illness (NAAJMI), organized a peaceful protest outside the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the 10th of October, 2012, against the new proposed Mental health care Bill.

[vi] 10 Facts on Mental Health, WHO, Geneva. “Human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disability are routinely reported in most countries. These include physical restraint, seclusion and denial of basic needs and privacy. Few countries have a legal framework that adequately protects the rights of people with mental disorders.”

[vii] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/GC.aspx

[viii] Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law, UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/35:  “Under their obligations to take effective measures to prevent torture and ill-treatment, States Parties must enact and enforce criminal sanctions against perpetrators of psychiatric detention and compulsory treatment, and must provide reparations to victims and survivors.”

[ix] UPR, India Review, 13TH SESSION OF THE UPR WORKING GROUP, UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (21 MAY – 1 JUNE 2012) JOINT STAKEHOLDERS’REPORT, Geneva Submitted by Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), India, November of 2011

[x] Universal Periodic Review and Disability, an Indian experience. DNIS, Volume 9, Issue 5, May 15 2012. http: //www.dnis.org/features.php?issue_id=5&volume_id=9&features_id=204

[xi] Inclusion International, 2012. “Inclusive Communities = Stronger communities. Global Report on Article 19”, London.

[xii] Inclusion International, 2014. “Independent but not alone. A global report on the right to decide”. London.

About APCD, hosts for the upcoming Meeting of TCI Asia in Bangkok, 9-12 June, 2015

Find news about APCD at


The “Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD)” is a regional center on disability and development. APCD was established in Bangkok, Thailand as a legacy of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, with the joint collaboration of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Royal Thai Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Government of Japan.

APCD was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) as a regional cooperative base for its Biwako Millennium Framework for an inclusive society in the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012. ESCAP identified APCD as the regional center on disability for the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real, 2013-2022.

In cooperation with more than 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, APCD is currently managed by the Foundation of Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD Foundation) under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

APCD, consistently working to forward rights of persons with disabilities wrt UNCRPD, has posted country profiles in Asia region at


Reaching APCD

For news about reaching APCD office, please find address, phone numbers and google maps at 


Offer from Hamsadhwani: Online course

From Hamsadhwani Prateeksha
For those of us who work in mental health from psycho-social perspectives, the suffering of mental illnesses and their nomenclatures are a well known experience.
Though a number of us have been working in mental health, also from lived and recovery experiences of the same and we make various sorts of representations, scholarly contributions around the world and talk, support, or assist people/families in our immediate vicinity, I felt that knowledge is not really diffusing to those who could directly benefit from our findings and empower their lives. this is not to say that those who are working in mental health are not doing enough- they are really doing the most they can. yet the ambient noise in the atmosphere is so much that their reach is to a very short distance; rather constricted.
In my own way, I have been looking for solutions how to reach more people and really empower them to recover the way I have recovered from bipolar or someone else has from schizophrenia.After years of study and trying to comprehend where the change can be most useful, I am now in a position to bring many diverse sort of resources to family caregivers. In this context we are now offering a course for family caregivers- which helps in understanding mental distress differently and support their loved ones, beyond just keeping them confined to psychiatric classification and pills.
Perhaps you would agree with me that in modern times, reaching people who directly stand to gain from this knowledge is the single biggest hurdle for anyone. One can only bank on the altruism of kindhearted humans, that they would forward a message to anyone who could stand to gain from this. I urge you all, to share this message with anyone, and request them to share further– for at this stage we have no further resources to reach them- except for the resource of a human empathy, if we can connect with it.
As part of this Caregivers’ Course, which is spread over eight weeks, there will be many people contributing their knowledge, scholarship, findings, outcomes of work with scores of people over the years- to a wider set of audience, over the internet. This ensures we overcome resource barriers of bringing so many people into one physical location or organizing space for carrying out these talks, lectures and discussions. Of course, it entails organizing of a wholly different level and scale, especially technology, coordination, network and people management.
To see who the likely contributors to this course are, please click this link.
In case you are also someone, who would like to offer your knowledge and findings to a wider audience, we will be happy to have a dialogue with you to figure out such collaborations. Please feel free to write to Hamsadhwani Prateeksha, or call back at the number below. They are open to supporting any organization and/or individual and also in receiving such support, in creating newer outcomes for suffering we are all so familiar with.
Please share these ideas of the Caregivers’ Course and Depression Support  Program, within your networks, to help everyone.
I look forward to your response and comments, if any. I hope to not only support towards recovery but also rehabilitation of people, towards gainful employment and other forms of social integration. Anyone who would like to support this more, is welcome to be part of this journey, with Hamsadhwani.
Phone: +91-832- 657 0660
Skype: Hansadhwani Prateeksha

Strategy Meeting of TCI Asia 9-12 Bangkok 2015

As most of you are aware, TCI Asia was formed in November of 2014, as a new association or collective of people, broadly aiming to realize Article 19 of the UNCRPD, concerning the inclusion of persons with (psychosocial) disabilities, in the Asian region. A ‘Press Release’ is found on this blog site, for those who are new to TCI Asia, and this blog.
The strategy meeting in Bangkok is hosted by Bapu Trust and APCD Bangkok, found at (http://www.apcdfoundation.org).
The objectives of the upcoming meeting are:

– To share advocacy work and experiences in the Asian region and to review recent international developments

– To have constructive  discussions on questions and challenges that have confronted us in our in-country advocacy (e.g. cross disability alliance strengthening, common minimum understanding of roles and methods, etc.)

– To debate possibility and elements of an UNCRPD compliant Mental health law

– To consider CBR framework, its strengths and limitations towards inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities

– To learn and brainstorm, how to better participate and be included in UN based advocacy, especially post 2015 agendas, if not too late already

– To Plan for TCI Asia Annual gathering in Korea with KAMI / OhYong Kweon and

– Finally, new ideas, sustainability issues and if possible, TCI Asia structure

This strategic meeting of persons with psychosocial disabilities is hosted by Bapu Trust and APCD, Bangkok; with support from IDA and OSF. It is being convened by the Bapu Trust.

List of participants

S.No.  Country Name
1 Philippines Janice Cambri
2 Nepal Susmeera Aryal
3 Nepal Jagannath Lamichhane
4 India Amba Salelkar
5 India Bhargavi Venkatasubramaniam
6 Korea OhYong Kweon
7 India Shivani Gupta
8 India Amarmani Bhagat
9 India Gautam Chaudhury
10 India Sarbani Dasroy
11 SriLanka Mallika Hewage
12 SriLanka Asanga Mallikarachchi
13 Bangladesh Mahbub Ara Akter (Shilpi)
14 China Linus Yang
15 China Qimei
16 HongKong Sophie Heung
17 Indonesia Yeni Rosa Damayanti
18 Thailand Kim Tiengton
19 Thailand Natcha Mitrakul

UNESCAP Second session of the Working Group on Asian pacific Decade of persons with Disabilities, 2-3 March 2015, New Delhi

Second Session of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022

2-3 March 2015, New Delhi


“The Second Session of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities is being organized by ESCAP in cooperation with the Government of India through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from 2 to 3 March 2015 in New Delhi, India. The Session will be convened in pursuance of the recommendations made and the rules of procedure adopted by the Working Group, at its First Session (25-26 February 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea).

All 30 members of the Working Group, i.e. 15 from Governments and 15 from civil society organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, are expected to attend the Session. Membership of the Working Group was decided by the Commission at its sixty-ninth session in 2013.

The Working Group will review the regional progress in the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, including in the implementation of decisions taken at the First Session, and discuss other relevant issues pertaining to the implementation of the the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.

At its First Session held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, on 25 and 26 February 2014, the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities recommended that every Working Group member should prepare a structured and concise report on Incheon Strategy implementation for the first two years of the Decade, i.e. 2013 and 2014, using a standard format provided by the ESCAP secretariat. It was also decided that the secretariat should upload all reports received on the website of the meeting together with an analysis of the reports.

In accordance with this recommendation, the ESCAP secretariat prepared two reporting templates to be used by Governments and civil society organizations (CSOs). The templates were aligned with the relevant actions outlined in the ESCAP road map for the implementation of the Incheon Strategy, endorsed by the ESCAP Commission at its 70th session (4-8 August 2014, Bangkok). They were distributed to all Working Group members as an attachment to the invitation letters for the second session sent out on 24 November 2014. Click on this link for individually submitted Government and CSO members’ reports on the Implementation of the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities

Link to the First Session of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, 25 – 26 February 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea.

Please find at


News from IDA_CRPD forum

News from IDA_CRPD forum
The CRPD Committee has posted a draft of their General Comment on Article 6 on women and girls with disabilities on their website:
– also attached- currently only available in English.
The UNCRPD Committee invites interested parties to provide written input on the draft.  Comments and feedback should be sent electronically in Word format to Jorge Araya, Secretary of the Committee at (jaraya@ohchr.org) indicating in the subject “Draft general comment on art. 6 UNCRPD” by 24 July 2015.

Submissions should be in one concise and focused document indicating precisely the paragraphs to which comments are being made and must not exceed 5 pages

Written submissions are welcome in the working languages of the Committee – English, Spanish or French.