International Association Against Psychiatric Assault
Spechtweg 1, 4125 Riehen, Switzerland


The association is a Human Rights organization that opposes psychiatric coercion and aims to abolish psychiatric coercive measures
altogether and to promote the fundamental rights of self-determination, liberty, and human dignity.

IAAPA is not only "radical" in its aims, it also has a true democratic "revolutionary" form: the General Assemblies take place legally via the internet and thereby completely save travel expenses for our members.
In this way members from poor countries and poor members from rich ones can participate in the decision making process without the need to depend on doctors' associations, pharmaceutical sponsors or the state for reimbursing their travel costs.


Our letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Navanethem Pillay:

International Association Against Psychiatric Assault

because Human Rights are indivisible

IAAPA - 79/2 Ibn Gvirol - 64046 Tel Aviv - Israel

High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mrs. Navanethem Pillay
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10

November 2, 2008

Implementing the CRPD in Germany


Spechtweg 1
4125 Riehen


Speaker of the Executive Committee:
Hagai Aviel
79/2 Ibn Gvirol
64046 Tel Aviv

Dear Mrs. Pillay,


May I briefly introduce to you our organization:     
We are a Human Rights organization in the field of psychiatric coercion whose aims are to abolish psychiatric coercive measures altogether and to promote the fundamental rights of self-determination, liberty, and human dignity. We have members in 15 countries world-wide (see also: www.iaapa.ch). 3 of them have ratified the CRPD but without any effect on the practice and the law in their respective countries. From other countries who have ratified the CRPD, from none of them have we received a positive response with regard to psychiatric violence and coercion as contradicted by the CRPD. The German organization Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Psychiatrie-Erfahrene e.V. (BPE) has now informed us in a press release on the planned fraud with the CRPD by their government and parliament.


We were therefore delighted that in your Information Note No. 4 for the Dignity and Justice for Detainees Week, you took such a clear stance against this planned fraud. We understand that for implementing the CRPD, one has to focus on political steps. Therefore the path the German organization BPE chose to confront the law-making bodies with the consequences of the CRPD before the ratification and demand the necessary changing of the law for the date of the ratification in Germany seems to us the only promising one. Such a strong power as a law-making body of a sovereign country can never be tricked with a contract which has unwanted consequences which they hadn’t intended. Only if they know what they sign/ratify, can you ever expect them to fulfil their promises.


That’s why, in our view, it is so important that the request for supporting a change of the German government’s proceedings is heard and we want to encourage the High Commissioner for Human Rights to defend the CRPD in this crucial situation. Should the Germans get away with such a blatant fraud with the CRPD, who else in the world will then implement the CRPD in the field of psychiatric detainees? The CRPD is in real danger of becoming a symbolic policy of the governing forces without any substantial meaning, especially in such an important area of deprivation of liberty and bodily harm, the core values for human dignity.


Yours sincerely,



Hagai Aviel

(Speaker of the executive committee)

On 13-Dec-2006 the "Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities"1 passed the UN General Assembly. On 30-March-2007 governments signed the Convention in New York. This signature marks the beginning of a political debate about this convention and its political implications for those countries who signed the convention, namely: Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, European Community, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia , Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen. (see here)

The result of this political process will be that in each of these countries either the convention will be ratified by its legislating bodies (in democratic countries: the parliaments) or not be ratified, which would contradict the prior support of its creation by its government.

Because this convention concerns the human rights of the disabled, it is crucial to terminate the systematic and wide-spread violation of human rights sanctioned by law legalizing psychiatric coercive measures, compulsory hospitalization and forced treatment as well as the arbitrary prolongation of imprisonment in the forensic unit as punishment. If the convention is to be ratified and thus become law in these countries without the psychiatric special laws being invalidated, it would become the opposite of what it intended: it would become another instrument against the civil and human rights of all individuals who were psychiatrically/medically slandered as allegedly being "mentally ill". These "diagnoses" are defined in the convention with the term "disabled" (Article 1, par. 2): "Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments … " [Bold and underlining added by us]

The convention explicitly bears down on the legal discrimination of persons with disabilities (Article 2, par. 3):
"… Discrimination on the basis of disability" means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. …"

The convention thereby explicitly forbids the possibilities which the national constitutions leave open by annulling constitutional rights with special laws if they have a "disability" as criterion. However that is precisely the case with the Mental Health Laws: the laws legalizing psychiatric confinement of non-criminals as well as the special forensic laws of the Penal Code have as an essential requirement a psychiatric assessment and/or a compulsory examination for this. They must therefore be abolished because they contradict the convention.

Moreover, in Article 12 the convention obligates a ratifying state as follows:
Equal recognition before the law
1. States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.
2. States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.

Thus any forced guardianship and the compulsory hospitalization, including coercive treatment which is thereby made possible, must be terminated. No longer can the words "protection" and the alleged "well-being" of the persons concerned serve as a cynical pretext for such measures.

To support this legal interpretation of the convention we recommend commissioning an expertise by lawyers specialized in international Human Rights, taking into account the specific national laws.
We call on organizations for persons with disabilities to urgently take a stance against a ratification of the convention by the national legislators if it does not fulfill that which it pledges: legally binding freedom from discrimination. Legal discrimination is exercised in its most radical, brutal and abhorrent form by the laws legalizing coercive psychiatry. Should organizations for persons with disabilities nevertheless press for a rapid ratification because they anticipate the effects of positive discrimination from the convention, a ratification without the abolishment of coercive psychiatry would come at an intolerable price: the continuation of the barbarity of coercive psychiatry with its torture-like practices and the denial of self-determination by individuals who were slandered in the psychiatric-medical jargon as alleged "mentally ill".

A ratification which maintains the Mental Health Laws would make the convention a cynical caricature: The convention would become an additional instrument of camouflage and cover-up for psychiatric violence. It would become a part of the problem instead of its solution.
1. Original text of the convention: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=199