Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 41 - EU Intervention: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on health and the Special Rapporteur on leprosy

Geneva, 24/06/2019 - 18:10, UNIQUE ID: 190624_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 24 June – 12 July 2019 EU Intervention: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on health and the Special Rapporteur on leprosy

The EU thanks both Special Rapporteurs for their reports.

Dr. Pūras, we very much welcome the priority you attach to the right to mental health.

We fully agree with you that the adoption of a human rights-based approach to mental health is of paramount importance. Such an approach encompasses both the underlying social, economic and environmental determinants of mental health and combatting the range of barriers arising from inequality and discrimination that impede the full enjoyment of human rights in the context of mental health. As you rightly point out, human rights are indeed core determinants of mental health – the lack of their realization, be they civil, cultural, economic, political or social, can seriously jeopardise the right to mental health.

In the EU we are convinced that more important than simply investing in mental health services, is making sure that those services are of good quality, recovery-oriented, human rights and community-based; that they address power imbalances; respect the dignity, autonomy, will and preferences of all persons and include structural interventions in society, outside the health system.

What good practices could you highlight and what advice could you give in order to help us moving from mental health systems based on biomedical approaches targeting individuals and their mental health conditions, with an overreliance on coercive, punitive and overmedicalized measures to more holistic services based on the respect of human rights?

Ms. Cruz, we welcome your report and thank you for your relentless efforts to showcase the dire human rights situation or persons affected by leprosy and the suffering of their family members which stems mostly from the discrimination, stigma, stereotypes and misconceptions they suffer. The term extreme dehumanization that you develop in your report is very appropriate to describe this unfortunate situation. You can count on the support of the EU to try to overcome this situation.

Your report gives light to the specific challenges faced both by women and by children affected by leprosy. Children, not only have higher treatment dropout rates but they also face more harmful stereotypes, including in schools and at the community level. What measures and strategies would you recommend in order to ensure that children affected by leprosy, in particular those with physical impairments, have access to an inclusive education.

Thank you.

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