Access to justice
Why is access to justice an MDAC human rights goal?
People under guardianship, people in institutions, people labelled and stigmatised with psycho-social disabilities or intellectual disabilities all face human rights violations. And they face enormous barriers to accessing justice to stop, remedy and prevent such violations. These barriers to accessing justice include:
- legal prohibitions on people complaining or accessing a court
- a lack of state-funded legal aid to pay for legal advice and assistance, and if need be, representation
- no complaints mechanisms in an institution or within a community-based service
- no support or advocacy for people with diminished functional capacity to advocate for themselves
- no independent inspectorate of facilities or services, or that the inspectorate is ineffective
How is access to justice a human rights issue?
Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities lays out State requirements on access to justice, and pre-existing human rights treaties set out rights to seek remedies.
Article 16(3) requires States to insure facilities and services designed for people with disabilities are monitored. The UN Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), obliges States Parties to establish independent bodies known as “national preventive mechanisms” to monitor human rights of people in places of detention, including psychiatric and social care institutions. In a more comprehensive way, Article 33(2) obliges States to establish independent bodies to monitor the implementation of the Convention.
What is MDAC calling for?
- Right to legal standing to bring cases
- Remedies and mechanisms accessible to people with intellectual disabilities and psycho-social disabilities.