Statement of Purpose of TransAsia Group on Inclusion

Statement of Purpose of TransAsia Group on Inclusion
“Trans Asian Strategy Group of Persons with Psycho-social disabilities: An advocacy Platform for Asia” May, Pune (India) 2013

•“Transforming communities for Inclusion of people with psycho-social disabilities: A Trans Asia initiative”, the first Regional Conference was organized by the Bapu Trust and supported by the Foundation of the Open Society Institute. It was held at the Hotel Holiday Inn, in Pune, in May 2013.

•The objectives of this meeting were to provide a regional space for people with psycho-social disabilities to share, learn from each other, and create strategies for inclusion; and to find a common vision for future advocacy on the implementation of CRPD for people with psycho-social disabilities, supported by the national cross-disability movements.

Trans Asia Strategy Group: Our statement of Purpose:

Our purpose is to advocate for the Inclusion of persons with psycho social disabilities in the Asian region by using comprehensive strategies of
(a) creation of knowledge base
(b) development and sharing of social innovation and skills and
(c) public policy advocacy in the region.

Elaboration of our advocacy
Human experiences of ‘Identity’ are broad and all encompassing, including gender, ethnic, professional, creative, recreational, sport, spiritual and other possibilities of belonging in groups.

Our identity (as ‘User’ / ‘Survivor’) should not be determined only in respect of our individual relationship with mental health system.

Where there are no services, there are no ‘Users’ or ‘Survivors’ of services, as found in large parts of Asia.

Congruent with the CRPD frame, we are not singularly focused on medical treatment issues. We highlight a range of issues : (poverty), social security and inclusion, safety, self-dignity and the fulfillment of human rights, liberty and freedoms, education, independent living, employment, etc.

In further discourse of our human rights, our priorities will be all civil and political rights, as we, as a constituency, are at more risk of losing these rights through incapacity norms.

Health care services, minimally, are already available in most countries of the region for people with disabilities. But we have certain expectations from health care services, viz., care and treatment should be available based on our choices and freedoms.

Governments should recognize diversity of needs across the spectrum of mental health and psycho-social disability; and enable a diversity of services across the spectrum.

Where non-medical alternatives do exist in Asia, health service providers often end up gate keeping, in the name of “best interest”. We expect existing health care service providers go beyond gate keeping on alternatives.

Government should ensure and promote a wide range of non-medical support systems and alternatives, so that we can truly exercise choice.

We have inherited many social, cultural and spiritual traditions and practices, which can be developed as stand-alone alternatives and / or to complement medical treatment, based on personal choice and genuine free and informed consent.

We do recognize that human rights violations can happen in such places also and must be intervened with.

We challenge penal laws that put people forcibly in institutions, but recognize that in Asian region, those laws are not found in all countries. We favour de-institutionalisation and de-criminalization of disabled people in the Asian countries where institutions and penal laws for the disabled do exist.

In the age of the CRPD, restriction of human rights is not option, and we are focussed on exploring ways of facilitating the support of persons who have psychosocial disability, in ways which are respectful of everyone’s human rights as human beings.
We favour the preparation and transformation of communities for the inclusion, and full and effective participation of persons with psychosocial disabilities, by developing holistic community level support systems.
In the age of the CRPD, restriction of human rights is not option, and we are focussed on exploring ways of facilitating the support of persons who have psychosocial disability, in ways which are respectful of everyone’s human rights as human beings.
There may be people in our community who experience extreme states and will appear to need involuntary treatment. But we can be respectful of their consent through the creation of different kinds of formal and informal support systems.
We believe, based on new scientific knowledge, that early interventions must be skilled in holistic and alternative approaches, so that a chance at recovery can be provided right at the start of the psychosocial distress experience. If addressed early, many people who experience extreme states need never enter the medical system.
We are concerned about the overall medical negligence of people with psychosocial disabilities, who are diagnosed as ‘mentally ill’, homeless or who are living in institutions. If suspected to be ‘psychotic’, they are not given proper medical diagnostics and treatment, and their general health issues are considered to be additional symptoms of their mental illness.
As a strategy group, we need to educate and skill ourselves in learning about global alternatives to give support and care to people in extreme states.
We need to brainstorm on one or more legal strategies which will start a support system in place when in extreme state.
We envision healthy mind and body for the region, not dependent on medicine but free of medicine as possible.

Engagement with Policy frameworks
There are a number of countries in our region, where new laws or amendments of old laws are being proposed. We want laws, old and new, existing and proposed, relating to disabilities or general laws, applying on us to be fully compliant with the CRPD.

Within larger Development agendas and goals for the region, the strategy group will highlight the demand for equal and equitable distribution of resources to promote and protect of PPSD in the Asian region from the government and international community, donors and multilateral development agencies and business communities (MDGs, post-2015 Development agenda, World Bank, etc.).

We understand the full political map of players who are within our action map and our individual engagements with various groups: They include the various medical and medical-cultural groups active in the region; the World Health Organisation and its different departments; cross-national human rights institutions active in the region; worldwide organizations on social innovations, psychosocial interventions and alternatives; the world and regional networks of users and survivors of psychiatry; bi-lateral aid agencies; and finally, cross disability alliances representing people with disabilities regionally and worldwide.
We engage and dialogue with everybody. Doors are open.

Our own movement or cross – disability movement?

•We need better internal organisation and communication to prepare for any political intervention as a group. We will work at an appropriate time in future, towards the creation of a movement for persons with psychosocial disabilities in the Asian region.

Forward actions

Overarching strategy of understanding institutional relationships (governance, law, policy, constituency) in the region
Bring in more country participation
Model implementation of CRPD in localities and neighbourhoods in some countries
Building on vision and mission for the region


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