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‘Would you call this home?’ – hearing on the deinstitutionalisation of people with disabilities

High-level officials from the United Nations, European Union, World Health Organisation and Council of Europe came together for a parliamentary hearing on the deinstitutionalisation of people with disabilities, focusing also on the emerging consensus on how to end coercion in mental health, and how to spread good practice regarding voluntary measures in psychiatry.

The hearing by video-conference, organised by PACE’s Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development in the framework of a report by Reina De Bruijn-Wezeman (Netherlands, ALDE), also heard from representatives of disability rights organisations, persons with lived experience, service providers and parliamentarians.

Speakers focused on the advantages of community-based and home-based care, and how government policy can encourage it, as well as ways of supporting people with disabilities to make their own choices as far as possible and live full lives as part of society. Discussion also focused on ending coercion in mental health, and the value of “involuntary measures” in psychiatric care, especially in a controversial new protocol to the Council of Europe’s Oviedo Convention which is currently being drafted.