Human Rights Report on
Forced Drugging in the U.S.

Tina Minkowitz, Esq.
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A group of grass roots survivor activists have sent a report on forced drugging in the U.S (along with an executive summary) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

In March, the Committee asked the U.S. to explain how it sees nonconsensual medication in psychiatric institutions as being compliant with Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (including nonconsensual medical and scientific experimentation).

The U.S. answered the Committee’s question perfunctorily, referring to constitutional safeguards, the federal PAIMI program and regulations on seclusion and restraint.

In our report, we address the scientific and moral bankruptcy of forced drugging, including the invalidity of the DSM, the severe objective and subjective harms caused by neuroleptics, the use on particularly vulnerable populations including children, older people, and people in jails and prisons as well as “ordinary” women and men who are labeled with psychiatric diagnoses.  We dispute the relevance of the U.S. government’s own answer to the Committee, because the measures they cite do not prohibit or prevent forced and nonconsensual psychiatric drugging.  We close with suggested language for the Committee to adopt in their Concluding Observations.

The Human Rights Committee is a committee of experts that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty to which the U.S. is a party.  Periodically the U.S. has to report in writing and also send a delegation to Geneva for an interactive dialogue with the Committee.  Non-governmental organizations – any organization that is not connected with government – can make their own reports on the country to provide added perspective.

If you want to support this work and help make it possible for one or more activists to meet with the Human Rights Committee, we are welcoming donations through the CHRUSP website www.chrusp.org.

In addition, there will be a National Day of Action on September 23 to draw attention to human rights violations that we are reporting on to the Human Rights Committee.  Some relatively easy actions to do on this day are: to wear orange, and to have a “Twitter rally” with hashtags #ICCPRTownHall in which we address the U.S. State Department and other relevant agencies (like the Department of Justice or Health and Human Services) about human rights violations.  Another idea is to do “photo petitions.” Please feel free to link to our report on forced drugging and use this material, and email me (info at chrusp dot org) if you have a great idea for an activity.

The Day of Action is organized by the US Human Rights Network ICCPR Task Force (of which I am a member).  It is good for our issues as survivors of forced psychiatry to be linked with other human rights violations and also to build coalitions and collaborations where we can.  Watch for more here and on the CHRUSP website, and you can also follow CHRUSP on Facebook and Twitter.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well done on this.

    I was at the UK Green Party Conference at the weekend (I was helping run a stall, I’m not a member). They were having debate on mental health in preperation for changing the Green Party Mental Health Policy. I talked to the person who was proposing the change. There were things about poverty, racism and homophobia causing mental illness, which is sort of goood, but also the statement that one in four experience mental illness in any one year (a questionable statement) and a statement that amongst other things that biological factors cause mental illness. Nothing on the power of drug companies or how compulsory treatment is illegal under the UNCRPD. Nothing on ECT either.

    When I said there was a lot of evidence that drugs caused more harm than good the person proposing the motion said we would have to agree to disagree.

    I went away seething. I should have asked where we agreed and disagreed and why she had reached her conclusions and was she interested in why I had reached my conclusions.

    Ah well. I’ll try to do it better next time.