Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Torture & Disability

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (Manfred Novak) submitted an important interim report in July 2008 to the UN General Assembly. In it he devotes a whole section to the issue of protecting people with disabilities from torture. He ranges over issues such as poor conditions of detention, the use of restraints and seclusion, medical and scientific experimentation, medical interventions, abortion and sterilization, electroconvulsive therapy, forced psychiatric interventions, involuntary commitment, violence including sexual violence against persons with disabilities.

It is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the issues both in general as well as under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Mr Novak has long been interested in the issue of torture in the context of disability. He wrote one of the main chapters of the volume by Degener and Koster-Dreese in 1995 on the issue of torutre and disability.