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International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law

This course will examine the relationship between constitutional mental disability law and international human rights law, primarily as that relationship deals with questions of legislative drafting, legal representation, institutional treatment, community care, and forensic mental health systems. It will cover a comparison of civil and common law systems, an overview of international human rights law, an overview of regional human rights tribunals, an overview of U.S. constitutional mental disability law, the role of “sanism” and “pretextuality” in understanding developments in this area, mental disability law in an international human rights context, comparative mental disability law, the use of institutional psychiatry as a means of suppressing political dissension, the “universal factors” in this area of law, and the globalization of disability law. The focus will be on both American law and on international human rights norms (e.g., the U.N. Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness), the developing body of case law in the Inter-American and European Courts and Commissions on Human Rights, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities..