Minding Equality. Compulsory Mental Health Interventions and the CRPD

University dissertation from Lund University (Media-Tryck)

Abstract: This study delineates the permissible scope for compulsory mental health interventions under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It was initially triggered by two competing positions within the current debate over the future of coercive psychiatry; a practice that is still omnipresent among states worldwide. According to one position, defended by the CRPD Committee among others, compulsory mental health care eo ipso violates the prohibition of discrimination. According to the competing position, supported by the vast majority of the States Parties, resort to compulsion is sometimes necessary to protect the health and life of the person concerned, and to prevent violence against others.This thesis explores the impact of the prohibition of disability-based discrimination on the lawfulness of compulsory mental health care, and argues that the line between the lawful and the unlawful can be identified via proportionality reasoning. Drawing on the works of Robert Alexy, I develop a framework for proportionality assessments within the non-discrimination context. My framework can assist States Parties to evaluate their mental health laws, and it provides useful input on how such laws may be adjusted to better comply with the Convention. In addition, this study engages with questions concerning what it is that makes state practices falling within the definition of discrimination so bad, and thereby contributes to the vibrant debate over the normative foundation of discrimination law.

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