Trans Asia Strategy Group for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities: II Regional workshop, Hotel Prince Palace, Bangkok, 4-7 November 2014

Concept note

How do we ensure the inclusion and the full participation of persons with psycho-social disabilities? Following the wide acceptance of the obligations under the UNCRPD, concepts like ‘CBR’, ‘Inclusive development’, etc. are acquiring new meanings and interpretations. Public engagement in the last year by diverse institutions and agencies has been geared towards creating new frames and strategies for problem solving. As a community of persons with psychosocial disabilities, closely allied with the cross disability and the larger human rights movements, how do we frame the works on Inclusion?


The Bapu Trust had looked for opportunities to enable a regional mobilisation of persons with psychosocial disabilities. Participating in TOTAL trainings on the UNCRPD; making Mission visits (Nepal, Philippines) through 2013; resulted in some new opportunities. Bapu Trust had envisioned, that through 4-5 meetings over 2 years, a group of people and DPOs with psycho-social disabilities (and the users and survivors in the region), will come together to share our experiences, expertise and our challenges on these questions. The first meeting was held in May of 2013. For the first time, so many persons with psychosocial disabilities from the region came together.

A Strategy statement was prepared by the group (named ‘Trans Asian strategy group’) and disseminated widely in user survivor networks. Later, the statement was also presented at the WNUSP Strategic Meeting in CapeTown, wherein WNUSP, addressing the identity question, and heeding the North South difference, allowed both ‘persons with psychosocial disabilities’ and ‘users and survivors of psychiatry’. As another consequence, the Bapu Trust also had the opportunity to visit HongKong for exchanging with EJI and users and survivors of China / HongKong.

In the last year, since the TransAsia group met in Pune, several global events have occurred on the subject of inclusion: The UNCRPD Monitoring Committee has consistently and unequivocally pronounced on de-institutionalisation and inclusion in their country reviews. Parallel reports were developed by some Asian countries with support from global disability agencies. The Concluding Observations for China sets a gold standard for the Asian region. The Committee issued a ‘General Comment’ on Article 12 elaborating the right to equal recognition before law. The Special Rapporteur for VAW visiting India in 2013 commented on forced treatment being a form of ‘Torture’. WNUSP / Bapu Trust advocated for Inclusion (2012) in Development, and supported a side event on ‘Transforming Communities’ at COSP 6. Global organisations for human rights also have been diligently working with other monitoring bodies, such as OHCHR. Inclusion International published yet another report on Inclusion, Independent but not Alone (2014). Some donor agencies such as CBM are working on strategic improvements to Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities within Development. The UNESCAP initiated a Working Group on Incheon Strategy for the Decade of persons with Disabilities (2013-2022), with an accent on Inclusion. In continuation of being a facilitator of transforming communities for Inclusion in south Asia, Bapu Trust has presented its model community mental health service program to a variety of national, regional and international spaces through videos, academic publications, field visits, participation in media, etc.

There have also been great challenges. Within the health sector, a few countries have brought in a new Mental health law with core provisions of coercive treatment. People with psychosocial disabilities, along with psychiatrists and ex-psychiatrists, users and survivors, anthropologists, historians, legal professionals and others have consistently critiqued the Global mental health movement, which has been rapidly colonizing Asian spaces in the last year. Inclusion within cross disability movements in the Asian region continues to be a struggle. Legal reform in some Asian countries has barely conceded the full legal capacity of people with disabilities. Countries which have ratified the CRPD face serious gaps in implementing the CRPD in the case of people with psychosocial disabilities. Asian region has been witness to continuing serious violations of human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities and their exclusion.

II Regional Workshop on Inclusion: Objectives

Against this background, the Bapu Trust, supported by Open Society Institute Foundation, Hungary, is organizing the second Regional Work of the TransAsian Strategy Group for Inclusion of persons with Psychosocial Disabilities,

Venue and Dates:  Bangkok, at Hotel Prince Palace, between 4th and 7th of November 2014.

Facilitators: Alex Cote (IDA Capacity Building Program Co-ordinator) and Bhargavi Davar (Director, CAMH, Pune).

The objectives of this workshop are

  • To include people with psychosocial disabilities from more countries in the Asia
  • To consider grassroots and survivor led practices of psychosocial interventions in the region and good practices for inclusion for persons with psychosocial disabilities
  • To dialogue with cross disability organisations and regional officers of global agencies on the subject of inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities
  • To work more on vision of the Strategy group for the Asian region

We hope to bring in people with psychosocial disabilities and some cross disability peers from 10 or more Asian countries.

This work is also linked to other works that Bapu Trust is undertaking, including bringing out a ‘good practice’ report on use of psychosocial interventions to facilitate our inclusion for the Asian region; preliminary steps in understanding the legal framework from an Asian perspective; liaison and networking, and hopefully, collaborations with agencies in the region towards implementation of Article 19 through trainings and pilot projects.

For more information, and request for participation, please contact:

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