Table 11: Disability and the right to liberty and security of person

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Involuntary commitment to psychiatric institutions.
  • Individuals living with intellectual impairments are permanently confined at home because of lack of resources for medical and social care.
  • A young man is detained against his will to a psychiatric hospital after his parents raised concerns about his behaviour. He is not told why he has been admitted.
  • A woman is admitted to a social care home on the authorisation of the person appointed as her guardian. She is not consulted about this decision.
  • Residents of an institution are not informed about their right to apply to a court or tribunal to challenge their involuntary admission/detention.
  • There is no mechanism for appealing an involuntary commitment.
  • People are institutionalized indefinitely with no review of their status or of the admission decision.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRPD 14 (1) States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:

(a) Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;

(b) Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.

(2) States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law and shall be treated in compliance with the objectives and principles of this Convention, including by provision of reasonable accommodation.

 

CRPD: recommending that Hungary review provisions in legislation that allow for the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability, including mental, psychosocial or intellectual disabilities. CRPD/C/HUN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD: recommending that China abolish the practice of involuntary civil commitment based on actual or perceived impairment. CRPD/C/CHN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD:  calling upon Peru to eliminate Law 29737 to prohibit the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability, including psychosocial, intellectual or perceived disability. CRPD/C/PER/CO/1(2012).

CRPD:  recommending that Tunisia repeal legislative provisions which allow for the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability, including a psychosocial or intellectual disability. The Committee further recommended that until new legislation is in place, all cases of persons with disabilities who are deprived of their liberty in hospitals and specialized institutions be reviewed, and that the review include the possibility of appeal.  CRPD/C/TUN/CO/1 (2011).

CRPD: recommending that Spain review its laws that allow for the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability, including mental, psychosocial or intellectual disabilities; the repeal of provisions that authorize involuntary internment linked to an apparent or diagnosed disability. CRPD/C/ESP/CO/1 (2011).