Washington, DC – February 5, 2018 – A new draft mental health law, now under consideration by Mexico’s Legislature, would continue to allow people with disabilities to be locked away in institutions – which is a violation of the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – both of which have been adopted and ratified by the Mexican government.
Under the proposed legislation, group homes would be built for residents on the grounds of locked institutions, as part of a community integration plan. However, in 2000, the same plan – known as the “Hidalgo Model” – was established at the Ocaranza psychiatric facility. It was meant as temporary housing until supportive community services could be established. Eighteen years later residents are still living in the grounds of the institution.
“The CRPD and CAT are very clear – people with disabilities have a right to live in the community and a right to personal liberty. And locking people away for a lifetime in institutions in itself can be torture,” said Priscila Rodriquez, Associate Director of Advocacy at Disability Rights International (DRI). “The Hidalgo Model is not community integration. People are still segregated, doors are still locked and they have no control over their lives.”
Over the years DRI has exposed the dangers and abuses people face living in closed institutions in Mexico and has documented physical and sexual abuse, the use of long term restraints and seclusion and denial of medical care, to name a few.
“We urge the government not to pass this law, but rather, we urge the Mexican government to adopt a national policy to close institutions and create a plan that truly guarantees real community services and support for its citizens with disabilities,” said DRI Executive Director Eric Rosenthal.
Read this press release in Spanish here.