Mexico City, Mexico- July 16, 2013 – Disability Rights International (DRI) and partners in Mexico presented an amicus brief last week to the Mexican Supreme Court in the case of Ricardo Adair, a 24-year old Mexican youth with Asperger Syndrome. Ricardo has lived under the legal guardianship of his parents since 2007, when a judicial review decided he was unable to make decisions on his own. As a result, Ricardo is now unable to make fundamental choices about his own life.
DRI’s work on this case was handled by our Mexico City office, which manages our work throughout the Americas. We worked closely with the Mexico City Human Rights Commission and other human rights organizations to submit this amicus curiae brief before the Mexican Supreme Court. We asked the Court to take into account international standards to protect the right to legal capacity of persons with disabilities as established by article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). DRI, which took the lead in the analysis of international law in this case, finds that the Mexican legislation governing guardianship is clearly not compatible with new legal standards under the UN CRPD.
It is the first time the Supreme Court has heard this type of case, which may set a new precedent in advancing the right of persons with disabilities to maintain their legal capacity.
DRI and our partners presented the amicus at a press conference in Mexico City last Tuesday, July 9th. The press conference received extensive media coverage in Mexico. CNN Mexico aired an in-depth story about the press conference and case. Click here to watch the CNN coverage (in Spanish).
DRI Americas Director profiled by Notre Dame Magazine for path-breaking work in Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala – July 16, 2013 – The director of DRI’s Americas Office, attorney Sofía Galván, was profiled by her alma mater in the Notre Dame Magazine for her successful petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to protect people detained in Guatemala’s psychiatric facility. A reporter for the magazine accompanied Sofía and another Notre Dame alumna working for the Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala City (ODHAG) into the country’s most decrepit and dangerous institution for persons with disabilities, the Frederico Mora hospital.
“Most unsettling is the pervasive sense of disorder, with patients wandering aimlessly, barefoot and in ragged clothes, sleeping on benches and on the bare concrete. There are broken toilets and no heat or hot water. There is no budget for shoes or soap. One orderly tells me, ‘Nos falta todos.’ We lack everything.”
-Notre Dame Magazine
DRI and ODHAG recently won a favorable ruling on a “precautionary measures” petition filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of more than 300 children and adults at Federico Mora Hospital who are subjected to life-threatening abuses. The case documented extensive physical and sexual abuse as well as trafficking of women with disabilities at the facility.
The Inter-American Commission called on the Guatemalan government to take “[i]mmediate preventive measures aimed at protecting all patients, particularly women and children, from physical, psychological and sexual violence by other inmates, guards and hospital staff.” DRI continues to work with the government of Guatemala to push for full implementation of the Commission’s ruling.
Read the full Notre Dame Magazine article, called Dignity for Forgotten Souls, here.