USICD VP Testifies About Mexican Institutions At OAS

March 23, 2012

A Headshot

On March 23, 2012 USICD Vice President and Disability Rights International Executive Director, Eric Rosenthal, presented compelling testimony to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the protection of people with disabilities detained in Mexico’s orphanages and psychiatric facilities at the Organization of American States (OAS).

In his testimony, Rosenthal described how the treatment of persons with disabilities in Mexican institutions constituted a violation of the rights guaranteed under both the Inter-American Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (CIADDIS) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), both of which Mexico is a party.  The petition to the Commission, which Rosenthal submitted along with members of Mexican disability rights and human rights organizations, made a formal request for the Inter-American Commission to visit the institutions and create a special rapporteurship for people with disabilities.  Rosenthal called on the government of Mexico to bring an end to the segregation and abuse of people detained in institutions and create a working group on disability issues.

The Mexican delegation, responding to the petition and testimony, acknowledged that they were addressing the issue of people with disabilities but asked the Commissioner and petitioners to acknowledge the challenges they faced due to lack of resources.  Representatives of the delegation listed numerous programs and laws that Mexico had initiated to protect the rights of people with disabilities, including the ratification of the CRPD.  In his response to the delegation, Rosenthal emphasized the lack of systematic monitoring that existed and noted, for example, that there were cases where Mexicans with disabilities disappeared in institutions due to the lack of oversight.  He also mentioned cases in which women and girls had been trafficked.  Rosenthal observed that the various laws and programs enumerated by the Mexican delegation were not enforced and that the directors of institutions are given total legal control over people detained in these facilities.  In terms of resources, Rosenthal noted that the resources that did exist were being invested in rebuilding institutions and that Mexico has not implemented deinstitutionalization pilot programs, as promised by the Secretary of Health. 

Full Hearing Room

To read Eric Rosenthal’s written testimony please click here.  To view Eric’s video testimony or view the hearing in its entirety please click here.