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Institutionalized and de-institutionalized persons with mental disabilities in Europe

Methods for increasing the effectiveness of human rights with special reference to strategic litigation

Ana Laura Aiello

For more information please contact Ana

Persons with mental disabilities are victims of terrible violations of their human rights, such as arbitrary detention or torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Also there is a virtual lack of studies regarding the human rights of institutionalized and de-institutionalized persons with mental disabilities. The term “institutionalisation” is generally used to refer to the situation of persons, as persons with mental disabilities, who are in institutional settings of various types, for example, a psychiatric hospital.

Under both international human rights law and national legislation, the gap between written human rights law and the real situation of human rights violations is enormous. There are different juridical methods which can be used to achieve an effective respect for human rights in practice rather than only on paper (in example: human rights monitoring and reporting, or strategic litigation).

This research project, driven by the values enshrined in human rights doctrines and the social model of disability (among the strongest examples of these values, there can mentioned: dignity, non-discrimination, difference, diversity, equality and participation) intends to explore the potential of these various methods, with special emphasis on strategic litigation, in the case of institutionalized and de-institutionalized persons with mental disabilities in Europe. The analysis is primarily focused on the power of using those resources provided by international human rights law.