- December 13, 2017


Geneva, December 2017 

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted an event with the co-sponsorship of the Permanent Missions of Brazil and Portugal, and officially launched the WHO Quality Rights capacity building and guidance tools “Transforming Services and Promoting Rights in Mental Health”.

The event was opened by remarks by H.E. Maria Farani Acevedo, Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Pedro Nuno Bártolo Ambassador of Portugal, and by the special guest, Puti Saeed Al Ghandi, Chancellor Canadian University Dubay.  The panel discussion was enriched by the personal perspectives and lived experiences by: Olga Runciman, Psychologist and Chair of the Danish DPO Hearing Voices; Michael Njenga, Executive Director at Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya (USP-K) and also an Executive Council Member of the Africa Disability Forum; and Rory Doodi, Area Lead for Mental Health Engagement, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Ireland.

The international perspectives were presented by: Dr. Michelle Funk, Coordinator of the WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Development, her intervention was a brief presentation of the WHO Quality Rights Tool Kit; Facundo Chavez, Disability Advisor for the Office of the High Commissioner on Human rights; Prof. Dainius Puras, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental health, Catalina Devandas Aguilar UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and IDA’s Senior Human rights Advisor Silvia Quan. 

Silvia Quan welcomed the WHO Quality Rights Tool Kit and commented on the efforts made by the WHO team to comply with human rights standards set forth by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities noting that the Quality Rights are a good training kit and a positive step made towards bridging disability rights standards from the CRPD to professionals and mental health practitioners. Ms. Quan also expressed that there were many challenges to overcome, while mental health laws in many countries of the world still allow for denial of legal capacity, forced treatment and forced institutionalization of persons with disabilities, notably persons with psychosocial disabilities. IDA’s representative finished her intervention by calling States parties to comply with CRPD standards by harmonizing legislation, and to always consult with persons with disabilities through their representative organizations.

After the panel discussion, a seminar took place, where Olga, Michael and Rory presented to WHO staff, their work advancing with the improvement of mental health services in each of their countries – “A new way forward in mental health, creating services that respects rights and recovery”. 

To learn more about the WHO Quality Rights Tool kit, visit: