The Great Triumph of Roxanne Stewart-Johnson: Psychiatric Refugee

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Roxanne Johnson’s feature length movie, “A Psychiatric Refugee,” has over 21,000 views in just three months and deservedly so. This is a must-see film and MindFreedom International is having a special screening of it on September 1, 2021 at 6:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time with a panel discussion afterwards. In addition to Roxanne, Chuck Ruby, Executive Director of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP), psychiatrist Peter Stastny, and Celia Brown, MindFreedom’s Board President, will be on the panel. It is free, but pre-registration is required.

Roxanne Stewart-Johnson and her children

Roxanne is an extraordinary young woman, with an extraordinary story, who made an extraordinary movie about it—all by herself. It tells about her being threatened with psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging in Jamaica and fleeing to Canada in March of 2017 with her young son and another in the oven to protect her unborn baby from psychiatric drugs threatened to be forced into her. Her psychiatrist wanted her to have an abortion because the drugs were likely to harm the baby and when Roxanne refused, the psychiatrist wanted her to sign a release exonerating the psychiatrist if the drugs harmed or killed her baby. She had to forge permission from her husband to enter Canada with her son but she made it. That started her two-year odyssey seeking formal recognition as a refugee.

Towards the end of her movie, Roxanne says, “I keep telling people I won, I won, when it is not a litigation. It is not a win or lose result. It is whether your claim got accepted or rejected. But to me, I won. For persons to recognize that what these doctors were doing is wrong; that they were violating people’s basic human rights; that being forced drugged was a form of torture—I won.” Roxanne not only won, it is a BIG win. I think Roxanne is the only person who has ever achieved being formally accepted as a psychiatric refugee. Hopefully, she will not be the last—that she has paved the way for others. That is why I have written this piece.

Roxanne made her Claim to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Refugee Board) under the refugee provisions of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) implementing the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Convention or Refugee Convention).

Section 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines “A Convention refugee” as:

a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion,

(a) is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themself of the protection of each of those countries.

IRPA’s objectives with respect to refugees are contained in Section 3.2 and include:

(a) to recognize that the refugee program is in the first instance about saving lives and offering protection to the displaced and persecuted; . . .

(d) to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment; . . . [emphasis added].

In support of her claim for refugee status, Roxanne prepared and filed a two volume Basis of Claim (BOC), that laid out the facts and why they entitled her to refugee protection. The key to it was demonstrating she was entitled to refugee protection because she had a well-grounded fear of persecution from psychiatric force. There is a 400 page Interpretation of the Convention Refugee Definition in the Case Law Roxanne cited in support of her Claim. According to it, in order to be considered persecution the suffered or anticipated mistreatment must be “serious.” Especially because of the prevailing view that psychiatric imprisonment, euphemistically referred to as involuntary commitment or involuntary hospitalization, and forced drugging, is good for the person and done for the persons benefit, demonstrating that what she faced qualified as persecution was a heavy lift. Roxanne accomplished this.

Roxanne did have a human rights advocate who tried to help her get a lawyer who would actually support her effort, but was unsuccessful until just before the end. In reality, Roxanne did virtually all the work herself and her victory was due to her work. One of the key things she did was record her conversations with various psychiatrists which meant she didn’t need to have the Board rely solely on her word. My experience is psychiatrists and other mental health workers generally will not allow themselves to be recorded, which to me means they want to be able to lie about what they said. This is so easy for them to get away with because the other person is accused of being crazy. It varies state by state whether one can record one’s own conversation without the consent of the other party(ies).

One of the things that is so familiar is the way almost everyone—human rights lawyers, social workers, etc.—just dismissed her claims, many times without even reading the case she had put together.

In order to prevail Roxanne had to prove she faced persecution from psychiatry. Roxanne also included sexual abuse and domestic violence in her Claim and this muddies the water a bit on the psychiatric refugee determination, but the Board clearly held she be given refugee status because of threatened involuntary psychiatric intervention. The Refugee Board’s April 15, 2019,decision on April 15, 2019, found that,

[Roxanne] is a Convention refugee because she has established a serious possibility of persecution based upon her membership in a particular social group as an individual with a mental disability. She has also established a well-founded fear of being harmed upon return based upon her gender as a female at risk of domestic violence.

In going through her Claim and evidence, the Immigration and Refugee Board’s findings and conclusions included:

[Ms. Stewart-Johnson] stated that when she complained about her treatment she was not believed because of her mental illness.

[Ms. Stewart-Johnson] maintained that she feared the psychiatrist could have her involuntarily hospitalized or worse, her fate could legally be left in the hands of her abusive husband as next of kin.

Instead of receiving treatment, counselling and protection, [Ms. Stewart-Johnson] was threatened with forced hospitalization and overmedication. . . . The panel also considered the evidence that the psychiatrists sought to include the husband and father in the claimant’s mental health care, despite the husband’s abusive behaviour towards her and their son, and the father’s abusive behavior towards [Ms. Stewart-Johnson].

Having regard for the totality of the evidence, the panel finds on a balance of probabilities that [Ms. Stewart-Johnson] was mistreated and over medicated by health care professionals in the past, and thus, her fear was well founded when Dr. Martin and Dr. Richards suggested increasing her medication and forced hospitalization.

The panel has reviewed the objective documentary evidence in this claim in its entirety. The . . . documentary evidence shows that [Ms. Stewart-Johnson], as a mentally ill person, and [her son] face a possibility of persecution as members of a particular social group.

[Ms. Stewart-Johnson] was overmedicated by psychiatrists in the past, which caused adverse side effects. She feared that she would be overmedicated and involuntarily hospitalized . . . if she was forced into Dr. Martin’s care.

[Ms. Stewart-Johnson] had complained about her mistreatment and overmedication when hospitalized in the past, but her complaints were dismissed as being a product of her mental illness.

The subjective fears of [Ms. Stewart-Johnson] are, therefore, well founded.

What is so striking about this to me is these are typical of what thousands upon thousands of people being faced with psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging present to courts all the time to no avail. So, why was Roxanne successful while virtually no one else is?

First, Roxanne is a very sympathetic figure; a young woman trying to protect her unborn son from being harmed by psychiatric drugs. The Refugee Board, overruling the Government’s objections, even excused Roxanne forging her husband’s signature granting permission for their son to go to Canada, deciding it was necessary to protect her son. Roxanne is also well-spoken, well-dressed, and an appealing young woman. People in the throes of psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging cases tend not to be so appealing. This shouldn’t matter, but it does.

Second, the situation in Jamaica seems out of line. The Refugee Board, for example, cited that many Jamaicans believe people diagnosed with mental illness are possessed by demons. The conditions in the psych hospital were particularly horrific and the drugging very excessive even by the current massive amount of psychiatric drugging generally accepted by current psychiatric practice. With respect to the latter, after one instance of forced drugging, Roxanne reported, “When I woke up I had a speech impediment and could not form sentences.”

Third, and perhaps most important, Roxanne accepted she is mentally ill with bipolar disorder, needs psychiatric drugs, and admitted herself to the hospital on multiple occasions when she recognized she was becoming psychotic. In other words, she did not challenge psychiatric dogma per se, instead asserting the threat of involuntary hospitalization in brutal conditions and extreme over drugging constituted persecution.

I recognize this was a claim for refugee status under the UN Refugee Convention and not against psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging, but I think the same sort of biases apply. It is very hard to win court cases when one goes against the overwhelming beliefs of society. Thus, when I was representing people facing psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging, I didn’t assert that “mental illness” is not a valid construct and is not a defective brain with misfiring neurons. In such cases, the person I was representing was obviously crazy at the time and I would lose my credibility if I argued there is no such thing as mental illness. Instead, with respect to psychiatric imprisonment I focused on the lack of proven dangerousness and there were less restrictive alternatives, and with respect to forced drugging it wasn’t in the person’s best interest and there were less intrusive alternatives. I would put on very vigorous defenses and still rarely win at the trial court level because the trial courts simply did not follow the law. In fact, I wrote a law review article about this, Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course and I give a blow-by-blow account of the farce which are psychiatric imprisonment and forced drugging cases in my book, The Zyprexa Papers. My take is judges don’t want to be blamed if something bad happens so they abdicate their responsibility to be the gatekeeper for who gets locked up and drugged against their will to the psychiatrists.

That Roxanne did not challenge psychiatric dogma per se does not vitiate her victory. In fact, it is something of a model. For example, in asserting her rights were violated under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, “No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (emphasis added), Roxanne asserted:

Being given and injected with neuroleptic/psychotropic drugs against my will or without my consent, when I am mentally and psychologically competent enough to give my consent which cause severe physically and mentally distressing side effects would be considered cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Thus, she asserted she had been subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, but did not assert she had been tortured even though the United Nations Special Rapporteur has on numerous occasions stated involuntary hospitalization and forced drugging can constitute torture. See, United Nations at PsychRights. She also didn’t challenge psychiatric imprisonment or forced drugging per se; rather that it was unwarranted in her case. This won the day.

I know many readers of Mad in America will take issue with this approach. There are many people, me among them, who believe nonconsensual psychiatric interventions should be abolished. The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) is an excellent organization pursuing that goal. At the same time, there are the practicalities of trying to avoid psychiatric imprisonment and being drugged against one’s will into oblivion. I once had the honor of lunching with Thomas Szasz and I mentioned how when I represented people I wouldn’t challenge the existence of mental illness because it would be counterproductive for achieving my clients’ goals. He responded that as an academic he didn’t have to deal with such practicalities. My view is we need both what I will call the purists and realists because I can’t think of better terms. The realists can achieve progress towards the goals of the purists, and maybe even catalyze realization of the purists’ position.

Roxanne Stewart achievement in being accorded formal refugee status on the basis of psychiatric persecution might be just such a catalyst. This is the way legal progress is made; small steps towards ultimate victory. Let’s hope this will be the case here.

Movie poster for "A Psychiatric Refugee"

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Jim, I think your insights were stronger than Szasz that the state of the academy does have to deal the practicalities. Another term for the space to draw out is known as “student” who is struggling to understand the importance of how the conceptual can be applied, “My view is we need both what I will call the purists and realists because I can’t think of better terms”. In striving for the purities of the whole thought, whole person, the discoveries by which a brain can run free, even without street drugs or medications, as a way into the reality(s) that are much richer than a thought process that inevitably is challenged to self-governance while reinventing understanding across the spectrums of knowing realities. One can start off in a case with the purist of intention, but having been through the mash up of the laws of justice, “to win” requires constant sifting in search one one’s truth being created about the Gift, that is life. An incredible story…. and thanks for reminding me again.

  2. Roxanne S-J is clearly a determined and competent individual, far more so than many who have never had a mental illness label. Another irony of her story is that Roxanne escaped from one country where psychiatric abuse is rampant to another where it is also rampant. But she, personally, is safer here. The fact that she had to admit to being mentally ill and make her case within the mental illness belief framework of myths which is the foundation for psychiatric abuse is indeed offensive, but Jim is 100% correct that progress demands that pragmatism trump logic in the short run. Only when officialdom recognizes that it is harmful to force unwanted “treatments” with horrific side effects on some people will the door be opened to the eventual realization that it is never OK.

  3. It is fitting that the author of this blog, someone who put everything on the line–career, financial security, and reputation–to expose pharmaceutical corruption ends up writing a tribute about a mother who put everything on the line to protect herself and her children from psychiatric harm. It takes one to know one. I don’t always have the courage to stand up to bullies but when I am presented with real heroes who have done so and are still standing tall, it makes it a little harder for me to make excuses, hide in the shadows, and remain silent. Kudos to heroes like you and Roxanne!

  4. “Roxanne Stewart[‘s] achievement in being accorded formal refugee status on the basis of psychiatric persecution might be just such a catalyst. This is the way legal progress is made; small steps towards ultimate victory. Let’s hope this will be the case here.”

    Let’s hope so, and thanks for sharing both her triumphant story, and your legal “realist” perspective, Jim. And as one who was psychiatrically drugged, to cover up the abuse of my child, based upon lies of a Lutheran pastor, according to my medical records. And as one who now knows covering up child abuse is the number one actual function of both the paternalistic psychological and psychiatric industries, and their systemic child abuse covering up religious “partners.”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xI01AlxH1uAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    I do so hope at some point to see an end of this “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    Since there is no actual legally or societally acceptable need for a scientific fraud based, systemic child abuse covering up, group of “mental health” workers. Our society is not best served by having systemic child abuse covering up psychologists and psychiatrists. But all of these systemic “mental health” child abuse covering up crimes are by DSM design.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    The child molesters should be arrested instead. Society does not need systemic child abuse covering up psychologists or psychiatrists. We need a return to the rule of law instead. Since covering up child abuse is illegal, even if done by and for the religions, or individual families.

  5. I am gobsmacked by Stewart-Johnson’s strength & stamina during this psychiatric onslaught.

    On a much, much smaller scale, I made a stand that was all-or-nothing and succeeded in purging my life and disintegrating brain & body from an 11-year assault by psychiatry. No children were chips in that poker game, thank god.

    In my small way, I exposed how lightening-quick the industry was prepared to jettison their ‘evidence-based’, absolutist diagnoses & profitable treatments-for-life….if challenged by a (minor but possibly noisy) legal action…in my case-anaphylaxis.

    My veiled threat citing ER documented dangerous care (over my objections during prescribing, noting a recent, REPORTED initial severe drug reaction) by behavioral management contractors of the state of Arizona was a problem for them. It couldn’t be blamed on ‘my worsening mental illness’ as damage from drugs had been characterized in the past 11 years.
    Anaphylaxis was their kryptonite; observed, documented, & treated by objective professionals…AFTER ALERTING THE PRESCRIBING CLINIC-receiving instructions FROM THEM to rush to an ER.

    The observable fact that my head swelled to twice it’s size, eyes bugging out wasn’t ANYWHERE in the DSM IV (or 5) as symptomatic of Bipolar 1 Disorder…or ANY mental illness…of course.

    Oops.

    While my brain & body were incapacitated for 22 hours a day for the following months (and already suffering from measurable brain lesions), I struggled to present a compelling timeline of damages of over a decade, offering the clinic director MY terms…a guided withdrawal by a DOCTOR (NOT a PA or MA carousel) for the entire journey, removal of THEIR BD diagnosis AND state certification of SMI-another revenue stream from the feds to the BH contractor…a contract so large (#2 in the U.S) that it was viewed as PROOF that Arizona was effective & enlightened in it’s approach to mental health!!

    It took over 2 excruciating years to ‘withdraw, (& addressing the statute of limitations for a lawsuit) followed by three terrifying years of seizures…and now it’s over.

    I’m free to flourish in my third act of life. I’m changed & grateful for the astonishing survival force that drove my messy, loud, outraged ‘self-rescue’.

    I am ALWAYS vigilant, ready to (hopefully) anticipate & effectively repel any incoming nibbles, red-flags, or assaults by the psychiatric industry. As I age, the cultural biases quickly multiply.

    They have no credibility other than as a massively profitable addiction/death machine, like Exxon. The biggest danger is their poisonous, symbiotic relationship with the U.S. judiciary.

    BTW-the Sony PX-333 is a terrific little recorder..Arizona being a ‘single consent state.

    Take care out there.

  6. I accept that Jim writes: “Roxanne accepted she is mentally ill with bipolar disorder, needs psychiatric drugs, and admitted herself to the hospital on multiple occasions when she recognized she was becoming psychotic. In other words, she did not challenge psychiatric dogma per se, instead asserting the threat of involuntary hospitalization in brutal conditions and extreme over drugging constituted persecution.”
    Of course any assertion can be made if it is successful to go free.

    But in the long run the key point for the success at the supreme court in Germany was that in “our” psychiatric advance directive any belief in the existence of a “mental illness” is denied. That´s why I can only recommend following Thomas Szasz insisting on the fact that mental illness does not exist. Please read below the comment on the successful complaint at the supreme court in Germany.

    rene talbot
    ————————————————-
    Commentary on the successful complaint at the supreme court in Germany

    The latest decision by the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) on the restriction of coercive psychiatry No. 2 BvR 1866/17 and No. 2 BvR 1314/181 was even reported on in the Tagesschau (the main German national public TV news) : https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/verfassungsgericht-patientenrechte-101.html.
    What is special and important about this decision for us (Werner-Fuss-Zentrum and friends)?

    First of all, we would like to emphasise that the FCC made the decision on 8.6.2021 that our special psychiatric advance directive PatVerfue® applies and must be respected even in the case of a non compos mentis per se dangerous person, the long-term prisoners in a forensic facility. With this, the FCC has either bid farewell to forensics (which would be super, but is extremely unlikely), or as lawyer Dr. David Schneider-Addae-Mensah has put it, granted the PatVerfue the status of „jus cogens“ (peremptory norm).

    Explanation:
    § 63 of the German Criminal Code (StGB) sentences an offender despite being incapable of committing a crime, nevertheless confines him or her in a forensic facility for an indefinite period of time. This draconian punishment is supposed to be justified against all the usual norms of the penal system (prospect of early release, rehabilitation, etc.), by the fact that psychiatrists have judged a person to be „dangerous“ per se. Their inclination to commit crimes is uncontrolled, actually always uncontrollable. They should therefore be promoted to the status of dangerous „insane“ per se and locked up until the contrary is proven (the logically unprovable harmlessness). Subjected to the infinite wisdom of psychiatric science, there could only be hope for „healing“ if this subjugation was total and the insight into the illness of the „mentally ill“ appeared credible to those in power in forensics. If it is not, the guild can always nullify any prospect of release with the diagnosis of „feigned insight into illness“ or „good facade“ (a simulation of normality that can be declared insane). It is therefore a typical Catch-22 situation and incarceration is regularly beyond any proportionality to the offence and is also against the UN-CRPD ratified in Germany, which has actually become law. The permanent dangerousness of a mentally „ill“ person, as diagnosed by a doctor and certified by a state judge, is the legal or sufficient justification for this special sacrifice (that is what lawyers actually call it) of prisoners in forensics.

    Any psychiatric diagnosis and any attempt for psychiatric treatment without the explicit consent of the person concerned is forbidden by the PatVerfue, the advance directive that was at issue in this case. The possibility of prohibiting diagnosis and treatment is in law § 1901a of the German civil code (a federal law on medical advance directives). In our view, any law on coercive psychiatric treatment is illegal because it violates the prohibition of torture which is recognised as jus cogens. The complaint against the coercive treatment of a prisoner in forensic psychiatry was disapproved by the lower courts but had been accepted and not yet decided in 2016 by the FCC. We had then sent the FCC the proof that a law forcing the toleration of forced treatment is illegal in itself, and published it here: https://www.irrenoffensive.de/proof.htm. The proof is also the logically compelling derivation of why the FCC’s 2011 decision was wrong, in which the FCC claimed that coercive treatment could be ruled by law if the capacity to consent was lacking „due to illness“: such a law violates jus cogens, in this case the prohibition of torture. The FCC had to take this evidence into account recognising that it was correct. However, in the evidence a distinction is made between

    A) people who think mental illness is at least likely, believe in it or are convinced of its existence.
    B) people, who neither consider mental illness as likely, nor believe in it and are not convinced of its existence.

    Only people from Group A) can therefore be capable or incapable of consent – for whatever reason.

    People from Group B) can – in a conscious state – under no circumstances agree to treatment of an illness of which they are convinced is non-existent. Consent would be a conscious lie for them. Thus, based on this logic, they are in principle, i.e. always, incapable of consent.

    For people in group B), the PatVerfue® is the tailor-made instrument to put a stop to coercive psychiatry for themselves: Insane? Your own choice!

    The FCC was thus faced with the dilemma of either ignoring this evidence against logic (at the cost of being accused of disregarding compelling logic) or revising the 2011 decision. For Germany’s highest court, this is apparently too much to ask, and so instead of abandoning coercive psychiatric treatment altogether and becoming human rights compliant, it attempted a last-ditch rescue. It declared the law § 1901a German civil code on medical advance directives to be legally binding and effective only for people in group B) who have a PatVerfue. The legal principle that no-one may dispose over the rights of others serves as a pretext for legitimisation. However, this has a two-sided effect – on the one hand, the rights of a person protected by a living will under the Patient Advance Directive Act § 1901a may not be violated. On the other hand, no-one may endanger another person, e.g. by a threat or an attempt to coerce. However, this principle applies equally to all people and is comprehensively taken into account in the constitutional state, especially also without psychiatric diagnoses. Nina Hagen, PatVerfue’s patroness, summed it up like this:
    https://www.zwangspsychiatrie.de/nina-hagen-explains-the-clever-psychiatric-advance-directive/

    „Anyone who denies that there are mental illnesses does not deny that there are conspicuous behaviors and disturbing thoughts and feelings of others. The only dispute is that this is a disease and that medical healing is to be consulted. Since the lawful state can sanction any version of conduct that violates or endangers the rights, property or body of others, also without the construction of special deprivation of rights on „mental illness“, there are no loopholes in the law that can justify this far-reaching and arbitrary detention and degradation in psychiatry.
    By means of coercive psychiatry, medicine offers the state power only an additional punishment apparatus for breaking the will, monitoring, coercion, intimidation, threat and fear of adult citizens – a kind of thought police.“ 2

    There is no justification for a coercive diagnosis prohibited by a PatVerfue, because without a diagnosis no rights of another person are violated, instead only the rights of the person concerned having a PatVerfue would be violated by the compulsion.
    Danger to another person can only occur as a result of concrete action. But these concrete dangers can be countered without coercive psychiatry anyway, as Nina Hagen correctly described above.

    So there is no justification at all for coercive treatment which is prohibited by a PatVerfue because
    a) no coercive diagnosis may be made (and should not be able to be made anyway if the person consistently remains silent) and
    b) endangerment and criminal acts are covered by the narrow criminal and public order law anyway, so there is no lawful justification for psychiatric coercive measures. They are disproportionate, as inadmissibly less mild measures are a disregard of Article 2 of the Constitution Law, because physical integrity is violated by coercive treatment. This is also the case with a coercive diagnosis, as already in 1995 the Regional Court of Cologne found in its judgement No. 25 O 308/92 (the doctor had to pay damages for pain and suffering in a case of a person agreeing to having a blood sample taken, despite testing for HIV not previously being agreed to).

    Conclusion:
    Psychiatric coercive treatment can only be justified by a living will that explicitly authorises the mentioned coercive treatment and previously written with his/her free will. The attempt to interpret Article 2 of the Constitutional Law in such a way that an incapacity to consent under certain conditions could justify bodily harm to be endured by people who neither consider mental illness to be probable, nor believe in it, nor are convinced of its existence, was rejected by the FCC in its decision because it violates the absolute prohibition of torture. The PatVerfue has thus been granted the status of jus cogens, as lawyer Dr. David Schneider-Addae-Mensah stated in his press release. The Special Rapporteur on Torture of the UN Human Rights Council, Juan E. Méndez, has also stated that „All States should impose an absolute ban on all forced and non-consensual medical interventions against persons with disabilities, including the non-consensual administration of psychosurgery, electroshock and mind-altering drugs, for both long- and short- term application. The obligation to end forced psychiatric interventions based on grounds of disability is of immediate application and scarce financial resources cannot justify postponement of its implementation.“ 3 The FCC’s trick of making this jus cogens apply only to people protected by a PatVerfue has only a delayed effect4.

    This only reinforces the contrast between people who, with foresight, have protected themselves with a PatVerfue and those who have carelessly not done so. Unprotected, they are still at the mercy of coercive psychiatry. In the absence of a ban on psychiatric diagnoses by means of a PatVerfue, they are also unable to defend themselves against an actual or assumed „danger to others“, which can lead e.g. to legalised forced treatment. However, the FCC has also strengthened their rights in such a way that only when the rights of others are violated may coercive treatment legalised by state force come into play, and always only in a proportionate manner!
    This constitutional view must also be recognised by the lower courts, or they must be educated by consistent complaints to the higher courts about their unjust decisions against the Constitutional Law.

    Noteworthy: With this decision, the FCC has also revised the reasoning of its previous rejection of an interim injunction of 7 September 2017, see: http://www.FCC.de/e/rk20170907_2bvr186617.html !
    —————————-
    1 The press release with link to the full text of the decision here: https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2021/bvg21-066.html
    2 The quote from Nina Hagen is from her article „Mentally ill? Your own decision!“ in the book „Stadtwirte /Von Sozialraumfarmern und Inklusionswirten“ (published by G.I.B. – Gesellschaft für integrative Beschäftigung mbH). The text can also be read on the PatVerfue website: https://www.zwangspsychiatrie.de/nina-hagen-explains-the-clever-psychiatric-advance-directive
    3 The quote translated into German is from page 5 in: Statement by Mr. Juan E Méndez SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR
    PUNISHMENT. 22nd session of the Human Rights Council Agenda Item 3. 4 March 2013 Geneva
    Internet see: https://www.zwangspsychiatrie.de/cms-67UN/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Juan_Mendez.pdf
    4 See the UN CRPD, i.e. human rights compliant, non-violent psychiatry as conceptualised in this article in Recht&Psychiarie (Law & Psychiatry): https://www.mdpi.com/2075-471X/8/3/19
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    By the way: The CRPD, which is ratified in Germany, was disregarded and not mentioned at all in this decision. (The comment is also published with links here: https://www.zwangspsychiatrie.de/commentary-on-the-successful-complaint-at-the-supreme-court-in-germany )

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