Mental Health Law and Human Rights

Michael L. Perlin and Éva Szeli

in Mental Health and Human Rights

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199213962
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754500 | DOI:
Mental Health Law and Human Rights

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Michael Perlin and Eva Szeli consider the relationship between human rights and the law, and specifically, the relatively recent meeting of mental health law and human rights law. They note the neglect of human rights of people with disabilities for decades by international human rights protection agencies. Although recent political, legal, social, and cultural developments have helped shift the environment so as to support a movement that ‘ extends’ rights to this population, these rights are often ignored or granted only on paper. They argue the cause is sanism: an irrational prejudice akin to other prejudices of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry, that infects jurisprudence and lawyering practices, that is largely invisible and socially acceptable, based predominantly upon stereotype, myth, superstition, and deindividualization, is sustained and perpetuated by ‘ordinary common sense’ (OCS) and heuristic reasoning in an unconscious response to events in everyday life and in the legal process. They issue the challenge to give life to international human rights for this population.

Chapter.  9111 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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