Blog contributed by: Disabilities CV
Disabilities CV is a new disability rights initiative in Hong Kong committed to promoting self-advocacy among people with psycho-social disabilities, reforming mental health law and policy, and supporting a rights-based approach to public policy development, social inclusion and anti-discrimination. They are currently working with PILnet and Hong Kong local law firms on comparative legal research on the right to informed consent on mental health treatment and the right and mechanisms to appeal involuntary mental health treatment in a few jurisdictions around the world.
2018 is a historical year of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Hong Kong. HKSAR submitted the 2nd periodic review on CRPD implementation in September 2018. Also, there are significant frameworks of law and policy reviews regarding disability issues have been achieving in process.
However, various reviews, such as those of the Rehabilitation Program Plan (RPP) and the Mental Health Ordinance, happen at the same time, without an independent monitoring mechanism for implementing consistent reviews. Behind inconsistent reviews is inequality discourse:
Under the Mental Health Ordinance, a person with ‘mental disorder’ or ‘mental handicap’ could counted be mentally incapacitated (MIP) by guardianship, reflects that legal capacity of the persons with psycho-social disability and intellectual disability has been restricted especially. It is because The Mental Health Ordinance restricts the legal capacity of persons with disabilities, predicating on grounds of mental capacity. This is the violation of article 12 of CRPD.
Prosecution for a suspected case of sexual abuse by a care home manager was dropped as the MIP victim was not ready to testify in court. Measures to facilitate MIPs to testify were introduced in 1993 and outdated.
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has called upon HKSAR to provide necessary psychological treatment based on free and informed consent of the persons and counseling at its concluding observations in 2012. However, the Government still refuses to repeal compulsory psychiatric treatment orders. Mental Health Review Report 2017 , which is the government report without CRPD principles completely, contrary to CRPD, it still suggests “revisiting the applicability of community treatment order when necessary”. As Disabilities CV is one of steering committee members of Hong Kong UPR coalition, we prepared and submitted the Submission and Fact sheets with other coalition members.
We need full CRPD Compliance in law and policy reforms!
HKSAR should amend the Mental Health Ordinance to (i) recognise that all persons have legal capacity; (ii)recognise the need of support for decision making instead of categorizing persons in such need as mentally incapacitated persons; and (iii) allow for third party advocates to assist, in accordance with the CRPD, within one year.
HKSAR should introduce a clear statutory definition of ‘informed consent’, ensuring psychological treatment is only provided where necessary, based on free and informed consent, within one year.
Two Fact sheets of Disability Rights issues: