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Research

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Publication details for Professor Felicity Callard

Lewis, Oliver & Callard, Felicity (2017). The World Psychiatric Association’s “Bill of Rights” A curious contribution to human rights. International Journal of Mental Health 46(3): 157-167.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

In 2016 the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) published a “Bill of Rights.” This article considers and analyzes what is at stake in a global professional clinical organization developing such a document that purports to support its efforts to tackle the social injustices experienced by people with mental health issues globally. It critically examines the text of the Bill and suggests that, while the document promises serious engagement with human rights (as distinct from ethics), it fails to meet existing international human rights standards. For the WPA to be a present and engaged partner in the implementation of international human rights standards it should not merely encourage governments to take action, but start with inward-facing tasks. These include establishing minimum human rights-based criteria for its own members and holding them to account, so as to nudge psychiatrists towards a human rights-based approach that would benefit people with mental health issues around the world.