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During the Government session that took place on January 30, 2020, the RA Draft Law ‟On making amendments to the RA Law ‟On psychiatric aid” and relevant laws” was discussed and adopted.
The discussion and modern approaches to securing the rights of persons with mental health problems during the Government session, particularly regarding the right of liberty and security of persons with mental health problems, are welcome. RA Labor and Social Affairs Minister Zaruhi Batoyan mentioned that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability recommends refusing the involuntary enforced treatment and isolation based on a disorder. The RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan added to Z. Batoyan and mentioned that the European countries have come to an agreement on that matter and concluded that the regulations should not be abolished, but rather, safeguards should be made stricter. In this context, A. Tatoyan touched upon the Italian experience and invoked community-based care institutions as an alternative.
Back in June 2018, invoking Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the recommendations of the Committee, HCA Vanadzor made a recommendation of refusing involuntary enforced treatment to the draft law ‟On making an amendment to the RA Law ‟On psychiatric aid”” placed on e-draft.am for discussion. In the recommendation package we also referred to the Italian experience. The Republic of Italy bill on ‟Voluntary and involuntary treatment” mainly focuses on organizing the voluntary treatment of persons with mental health problems in the community and integrated medical institutions and not in isolated psychiatric hospitals. The Ministry of Health did not accept this recommendation.
In 2015, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability adopted Guidelines on Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability to give additional clarification regarding the state’s obligation to respect, protect and safeguard the right to liberty and security of persons with disability.
Hoping that the discussions that commenced during the Government session will lead to abolishing the practice of involuntary treatment and isolation of persons with mental health problems, HCA Vanadzor presents the non-official Armenian translation of the Committee Guidelines (the English version can be found HERE starting from page 22).
It should be mentioned that based on HCA Vanadzor recommendation, a public group for monitoring in the RA psychiatric institutions was formed in the RA Ministry of Health. HCA Vanadzor Chairman Artur Sakunts has been selected as the president of the observation group. In December 2019, the group made its first visit.