Bridging the Gap and the PAHO hold in Paraguay the event ‘Human Rights and Psycosocial disability’

Persons working in group in the workshop

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), implementing partner of the project in Paraguay, organised from 10 to 12 December in Asuncion the event “Human Rights and Psychosocial Disability”.

The activity aimed to strengthen the participation of civil society in the design and implementation of inclusive public policies for persons with psychosocial disabilities. It brought together representatives of civil society organizations that are part of the National Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS) and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, along with PAHO/WHO and AECID’s members.

The meeting was divided into two parts. The first was the debate ‘Human Rights and Psychosocial Disability: a necessary dialogue for an urgent agenda’ held on 10 December, which discussed how to respond to the specific needs of health care and guarantee fundamental rights such as recreation, education, active social life or employment of this group.

During his speech, PAHO/WHO Mental Health Specialist Andrea Bruni stated that the barriers that persons with psychosocial disabilities have for their full participation and development must be broken down, “the confinement approach stigmatizes and is discriminatory,” he stressed. Likewise, Andrés Vázquez, lawyer and human rights specialist, expressed that beyond the weaknesses found, there is an opportunity to chart a path for civil society organizations to participate and place on the public agenda the complexity of the issue and the urgency of its treatment by the State mainly.

Dr. Mirta Mendoza, from the Mental Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Julio Manzur and Dr. Víctor Ramón Adorno Quevedo, Advisor and General Director of the Psychiatric Hospital, respectively, also participated in the discussion of 10th December.

Following this conversation, a training workshop was held on 11 and 12, gathering representatives of civil society organizations and organizations of persons with psychosocial disabilities to improve their participation in the development and implementation of mental health and disability policies.

It is expected this activity help DPOs’ contribution to the reform of mental health policy in a work process that will continue throughout 2020.

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