Segment 2: Torture

* Essential readings

*CRPD Article 15; see also Articles 12, 14, 16, 17, 25(d)


UN general legal standards on torture:

*Convention Against Torture, Art. 1

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. 7 and Human Rights Committee (ICCPR monitoring body) General Comment No. 20

Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, Art. 2


Survivors and allies on forced psychiatry as torture:

*One or more of the following:

Alice Halmi, Coercive Psychiatry a Torture System

Minkowitz, Advocacy paper on forced interventions as torture (2 pg)

Minkowitz, Forced interventions and forced institutionalization as torture/CIDT (cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment) from perspective of PWD (ppt) (pdf alternative format: AnnexIII-2)

Minkowitz, UN CRPD and the Right to Be Free from Nonconsensual Psychiatric Interventions (full article)

Linda Steele, Challenging Law’s Monopoly on Violence: Human Rights and Disability-Specific Violence

See also survivor testimonies and other writings for Absolute Prohibition Campaign


Reparation for serious human rights violations:

*Hege Orefellen, Urgent need for effective remedies, redress, and guarantees of non-repetition

UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedy and Reparation


UN documents on forced psychiatry as torture:

1986 Report by Special Rapporteur on Torture P. Kooijmans (paragraph 119) (not readable to screen reader but relevant text will be provided in lecture ppt)

*2008 Report by Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak (section III)

*2013 Report by Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez (sections III, IV A, D and E, and V)

Exchange between World Psychiatric Association and Méndez (these are not formal UN documents, but note that the Rapporteur calls into question some of his apparent positions in the report)

*CRPD General Comment No. 1, para. 42

*CRPD Guidelines on Article  14, para 12

CRPD General Comment No. 3 (on women with disabilities), paras 10, 17, 30-32, 43-47, 51, 53-55, 62(a).


Opposed to CRPD standard:

Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (UN expert body overseeing the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture), Approach regarding treatment without free and informed consent


Enforcement potential:

Minkowitz brief in third party intervention under CRPD Optional Protocol

Recommendations by CHRUSP and others for OPCAT monitoring of psychiatric institutions applying CRPD standards




Lecture #2 (playback – note that it works on Firefox and Chrome browsers, may not work on others)

Power point for segment 2 (and pdf version segment 2)



1-2 page reflection paper.

Discuss the value of framing forced psychiatric interventions as torture (or, as torture or other ill-treatment).  What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this concept?  How useful is it to secure an absolute prohibition of commitment and forced treatment?


(c) Tina Minkowitz 2017