Society is largely blind-often willfully blind-to the ongoing violations of international human rights law when it comes to the treatment of persons with mental disabilities. Despite a robust set of international law principles, standards and doctrines, and the recent ratification of the
United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with mental disabilities continue to live in some of the harshest conditions that exist in any society. These conditions are the product of neglect, lack of legal protection against improper and abusive treatment, and
social attitudes that demean, trivialize and ignore the humanity of persons with disabilities.
International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law: When the Silenced are Heard draws attention to these issues in order to shed light on deplorable conditions that governments continue to ignore, and to invigorate the debate on a social policy issue that remains a low priority for most of the
world's nations. Examining the mistreatment of persons with mental disabilities around the world, Michael Perlin identifies universal factors that contaminate mental disability law, including lack of comprehensive legislation and of independent counsel; inadequate care; poor or nonexistent community
programming; and inhumane forensic systems. Using examples from Western and Eastern Europe, South America, Africa and Asia, Perlin examines and summarizes the growing field of international mental health law, arguing that governmental inaction demeans human dignity, denies personal autonomy, and
disregards the most authoritative and comprehensive prescription of human rights obligations.
As Perlin argues, these issues pertain to all citizens of the world who value human rights and who care about how we treat those of us who may be most vulnerable. International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law is an indispensable resource for scholars, policymakers, governmental officials, and
mental health professionals who care about the treatment of those with disabilities, and to human rights advocates and activists worldwide.
About the Author:
Michael L. Perlin is a Professor of Law at New York Law School, where he is also Director of the International Mental Disability Law Reform Project and Director of the Online Mental Disability Law Program. He has taught and done advocacy work on six continents and is the author of 20 books and
over 200 articles on all aspects of mental disability law. He spent eight years as Director of the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Advocacy, where he provided legal services to individuals in cases involving civil commitment, institutional rights, and community care issues.