The Right to Independent Living and being included in the Community: Lessons from the United Nations

Piers Gooding


This review will consider recent United Nations activity on article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) concerning the right to live independently and be included in the community. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted its ‘General Comment’ No. 5 in August 2017, which offers guidance to governments on art 19 implementation. This review critically examines content relevant to mental health and capacity law, policy and practice. It considers the strengths and potential limitations of the General Comment with reference to key issues in the field. Gaps include commentary on the rising marketisation of disability services globally and a focus on low and middle-income countries. Yet overall, the General Comment offers useful guidance on implementing this unusual right, including concepts that may help resolve controversies about the role of coercion in mental health and capacity law.

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