Mentally Ill and The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

by | Sep 3, 2012

The mentally ill in the United States may feel they gained an increase in their rights with the signing of The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Under Article 1, Purpose, the following definition of a disability is offered:
“Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
There are things we as a nation are obligated to do for the mentally ill under the articles of this convention, some of which ignore the rights of business owners and employers. For instance, under Article 4, General Obligations, it is stated:

  1. “States Parties (Those countries that have Ratified a Covenant or a Convention and are thereby bound to conform to its provisions. )undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.”

This is clarified further under this article, with statements such as this one:
“To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise.”
While this may prevent a physically disabled person from being unjustly discriminated against in the area of employment, it is not specific enough. A one size fits all approach does not consider the possibility that a mentally ill person, under the influence of a dangerous psychiatric drug may put himself, his employer, fellow workers and other innocent bystanders at risk.
According to this document, an employer who refused to hire or retain a mentally ill person, even if he were acting strangely due to use of psychiatric drugs would be in violation of the Convention.
Stories of workplace violence committed by people under the influence of powerful psychiatric drugs has increased over the years.
As one example of many, in 2000, Michael McDermott, a mentally ill man taking Prozac gunned down seven coworkers. The attending psychiatrist said “I would offer the opinion that it’s very possible that Prozac is the final piece of the puzzle that explains the level of rage and anger that allowed the killings to occur.”
While people with physical disabilities should be protected from unjust discrimination in the workplace, the rights of business owners cannot be ignored when it comes to the hiring and firing of their employees.
A document like The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sends a chilling message to those who have private businesses. A global body overseeing who a business owner can hire smacks of totalitarianism.
Another troubling aspect of this Convention is the power it may give pharmaceutical companies to develop additional psychiatric drugs. Also under Article 4:

  1. “To undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted December 13, 2006 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
In July of 2009, Barack Obama kept his promise to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. His ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, signed the convention at the UN headquarters on July 30, 2009.
At a meeting on July 24, President Obama announced this event:
“We are thrilled to have you all here for an historic announcement regarding our global commitment to fundamental human rights for persons with disabilities. (italics mine) I’m also honored to mark the anniversary of a historic piece of civil rights legislation (referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990) with so many of the people who helped make it possible, and I’d like to reflect on that for a few moments.”
As long as psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies have free reign to promote and recommend their dangerous drugs, documents like The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will remain a danger to us all. (definition of States Parties)


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