Involuntary placement and involuntary treatment of persons with mental health problems affects the most fundamental of rights, including the right to liberty and the right to freedom from torture. Strict safeguards at United Nations and European level attempt to limit undue interference with such rights. The legal approach to this field is evolving rapidly, driven in part by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to which the European Union (EU) and 20 EU Member States have acceded and all Member States have signed. Far more than a repackaging of existing rights, the CRPD represents a sea-change, a move from a charity-based to a rights-based approach characterised by non-discrimination, autonomy and inclusion.
This report of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) analyses the shifting legal panorama and, informed by fieldwork in nine EU Member States on the actual experiences of those involuntarily placed and treated and other stakeholders, points to the need for a renewed discussion of compulsory placement and treatment in the EU.