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Letter to Mexican Senators on the Open Parliament Process

Members of the Salud Mental con Derechos make recommendations for a truly participatory and inclusive Open Parliament process

Senators:

The people and organizations who are members of the Salud Mental con Derechos coalition have the pleasure of writing you to express some concerns regarding the process for beginning the Open Parliament which will soon be convened to discuss the initiative of the General Law on Mental Health, presented in November 2019 by Senator Geovanna Bañuelos in the Senate of the Mexican Republic.

We applaud Senator Bañuelos’ decision to withdraw the initiative in question from the discussion of the agenda of the past extraordinary period of the Senate of the Republic. We believe it is now necessary to lay the foundations for a process that is truly participatory and inclusive of all people potentially affected by the mental health legislation that is being adopted. We agree with Senator Bañuelos about the need for profound reform of the mental health services that currently exist in Mexico in order to make the right to health effective for the entire population.

We also agree on the need for immediate action to address the problems arising from the current health emergency caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, notably the situation of hundreds of people with mental health conditions who are permanently institutionalized in psychiatric facilities, often in overcrowded conditions, according to data published by INEGI which reports an average of 161 people per psychiatric center in a census published in 2015 about social assistance accommodation. The adoption of profound reforms of the mental health services currently existing in Mexico requires initiating a progressive, safe and sustainable process to deinstitutionalize these people and provide them with quality support services in the community in such a way as to cease the abuses of and limitations on their personal freedom and their right to live independently. Institutionalization places these people at increased risk of contagion from COVID-19.

We believe the decision to reform the mental health legislation should be based on strong rationality, clarity, and transparency and strengthened by civic participation, especially by those who will be affected by these decisions since currently existing practices and approaches that violate human rights in the field of mental health services may be exacerbated by the adoption of legislation that is not aligned with international human rights law and the public policy changes recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its QualityRights initiative.

We believe that the processes to discuss the initiative must comply with the minimum standards of a true Open Parliament, and, even more, with the principles and guidelines of the Mexican Government’s international obligation to carry out close consultations with people with disabilities through the organizations that represent them, provided for in articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It is important that the call issued to carry out this exercise should clearly state which processes and methodology will be followed to address the discussion, whether there will be pressure to adopt a General Mental Health Law or whether reforms will be made to the General Health Law in the specific section that refers to this matter as well as the session’s agenda to follow the order of the discussions. It would be equally important to provide sufficient time and clarity to guarantee the diversity of multiple sectors of civil society relevant to the issue, among other necessary elements.

An adequate Open Parliament process should include, at minimum, the following elements:

  1. Transparency and access to information. A clear methodology and follow-up processes that are open to discussion until the initiative becomes law. The methodology and processes must be published in a timely manner on the websites of the commissions responsible for ruling on the initiative in the Senate. At minimum this should include the following: identify the legislators who integrate the work commissions; identify the external participants at each stage of the process; the judgments; the calendar of meetings with their dates, locations and agendas; stenographic versions and/or video recording of the meetings and supporting technical documents.
  1. Civic participation. Timely public notices, accessible to civil society experts, academia, service providers and other interested parties so they can comment and thoroughly discuss the initiative’s content.
  1. Accountability. Publication and simple and complete explanation of the initiative’s discussion process, the reasons for including or discarding the proposals, the final opinion with arguments that support it, the meaning of the votes, the documents referenced for discussion, with the name of the proposer and his/her affiliation, the meetings’ minutes and the attendance and voting record.
  1. Use of information technologies. It must be guaranteed that all work meetings are communicated by electronic means of dissemination, such as the Congress channel and its social media platforms, in addition to being published in accessible, open and timely formats.

In addition to the above conditions, it is imperative to closely consult with organizations of people with disabilities, for which it is necessary to meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Wide consultation with organizations. Contact all organizations of persons with disabilities in Mexico through appropriate information channels and include access to all relevant information, including the websites of the ruling Commissions, through various accessible digital formats with reasonable adjustments when needed, such as interpretation in sign language, texts in easy reading and clear language, braille and tactile communication.
  1. Consultation with children and adolescents. Since the legislation will also include regulations on children and adolescents with mental health conditions, suitable consultations should also be carried out with this population, respecting the principles of progressive autonomy and the best interests of the child.
  2. Consultation with people under any form of guardianship or who are institutionalized. Consultations should also be carried out among those people with disabilities who are under any form of guardianship or institutionalized, including the elderly, through organizations that protect their rights. For such purposes, mechanisms should be provided to facilitate these people expressing their views, including the possibility of making mechanisms available for supported decision-making.
  3. Information on the results of the consultation. Update the organizations of persons with disabilities on the results of these processes, in particular by providing a clear explanation, in an understandable, easy-to-read format, of the conclusions, considerations and rationale for decisions on how their opinions were taken into account and why.

We would also like to point out that the absence of a consultation process could lead to a failure to recognize current fundamental rights within Mexico’s legal system, notably the right of people with disabilities to autonomy and to make their own decisions in mental health issues.

With all due respect, we urge that the convening and continuity of the Open Parliament sessions are carried out with these conditions in the process, and that diverse voices and opinions on the subject be included, in a timely and substantive manner, to guarantee plurality and representativeness in order to avoid the hasty adoption of reforms to mental health services in Mexico that will worsen the situation of the population in general, and for people with mental health conditions in particular.

  1. Human Rights Watch
  2. Libertad Hernández/ Dis-capacidad.com
  3. Zara Snapp
  4. Oscar Sánchez Hernández
  5. Instituto RIA, AC
  6. SinColectivo, agrupación plural de personas expertas por experiencia en salud mental y
    derechos humanos
  7. Katia D'Artigues / Yo También. Discapacidad con todas sus letras
  8. María Teresa Fernández Vázquez, Entropía Social, A.C.
  9. Hacia la vida digna para todas las personas, ReverdeSer Colectivo A.C.
  10. México Unido Contra la Delincuencia
  11. Víctor Lizama
  12. Gabriela Aragón Zamorano - SinColectivo
  13. Ilse Rebeca Gutiérrez Ramírez
  14. Disability Rights International-Mexico
  15. Sara Valenzuela López / Voz Pro Salud Mental Jalisco A.C
  16. Raúl Montoya Santamaría Colectivo Chuhcan A.C.
  17. Colectivo Chuhcan A.C.
  18. Raquel B. Jelinek M. / CISEE, A.C.
  19. Ma Elena Morera
  20. Elementa DDHH A.C.
  21. Causa en Común
  22. Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Estado de Colima
  23. Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, A.C.
  24. Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez
  25. José M. García Vallejo / Autocultivo Medicinal en México
  26. EQUIS Justicia para las Mujeres
  27. Isabel Erreguerena
  28. Karla Mariana Escobar Magallanes Red de Estudiantes y Egresados con Discapacidad de la UNAM
  29. Héctor Abraham Meneses Arredondo Conexiones Psicoactivas
  30. Andrés Hirsch Soler - ReverdeSer Colectivo
  31. Sandra Padilla Zaldo
  32. Dolores Zaldo Morales
  33. Juan Padilla Ramirez
  34. Irasema Padilla Zaldo
  35. María Fernanda Pinkus Aguilar
  36. Ernesto Peralta / Borde Jurídico
  37. Valenciana Carranza Victoria J.
  38. María Novoa Cancela
  39. Susana Camacho Maciel, BORDE JURÍDICO
  40. Instituto de Justicia Procesal Penal, A.C.
  41. Luna Mancini
  42. Laura Gabriela Monroy Carmona
  43. Gisela Galicia Citizen Commission on Human Rights, México A.C.
  44. Ana Dulce Aguilar
  45. Monroy Carmona David Adrián
  46. Angélica Ospina-Escobar / Red Mexicana de Reducción de Daños - Redumex -
  47. María Novoa Cancela
  48. Roxana Pacheco Martínez
  49. Fundación para la Inclusión y Desarrollo de Personas con Discapacidad, A.C.
  50. Catalina Torres Cuevas
  51. Mario Alberto Reyes
  52. 52. Lourdes García Acosta
  53. Solís Domínguez USAER
  54. Miguel Valdés Villarreal M / Laguneros por la Paz
  55. Ernesto Rosas
  56. Confederación Mexicana de Organizaciones en favor de la Persona con Discapacidad Intelectual, AC (CONFE)
  57. Jesús Ramo Jiménez
  58. Carlos Humberto Hernandez Valdez
  59. Nora Robledo Frías
  60. Piña Palmera AC
  61. Arturo Sánchez
  62. Marcela Páramo. CENTRO PSICOEDUCATIVO FREIRE, AC
  63. Ana Dulce Aguilar
  64. Ángela Salazar Acevedo
  65. Yazmith Batáz Carballo
  66. Documenta, análisis y acción para la justicia social A.C.
  67. Orgullo Loco México
  68. Monique Fabian Arellano
  69. Jessica Hayde Casas Noyola/ Mi Valedor
  70. Eliana Garcia
  71. Karen olivos Leyva
  72. José de Jesús Segovia Villeda
  73. Angelica Yanina García Villuendas UNAM
  74. Sara González Rodríguez// Colectivo por la Paz Xalapa AC
  75. Alejandra Llamas Altamirano Clínica de Acción Legal PUDH-UNAM/Foro Latinoamericano de Antropología del Derecho
  76. Joel García / Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia
  77. Mariana Neyvi Ortiz Luna
  78. Dulce Serena Salazar Ramírez/UNAM
  79. Pablo Roberto Gonzalez Guzman
  80. Susana Scheherazade Valencia Santos
  81. Mariana Neyvi Ortiz Luna
  82. Ricardo Amarillo Saez
  83. Martha Gabriela García Álvarez
  84. Francisco Javier Rodríguez Bernal
  85. Maria de Lourdes López Sánchez directora de la asociación de Qigong de Baja California AC
  86. Instituto Mexicano de Derechos Humanos y Democracia, A. C.
  87. Miroslava Cisne Chávez
  88. Ana Sofia Rodríguez/ Editora de www.discapacidades.nexos.com.mx
  89. Maricruz Vargas Ramírez / Maestrante en Estudios Políticos y Sociales, UNAM
  90. Laura Ayehrim Pérez Alfonzo
  91. Efraín Sánchez Márquez
  92. María Fernanda Gaminio Reyes
  93. Eduardo Suárez del Real Aguilera
  94. Iván de Jesús Casarrubias Morales
  95. José Gerardo Ceballos González, Voceros por la Inclusión
  96. Salvador López García
  97. INCLUSOR A.C.
  98. Diana Vite (mujer con discapacidad)
  99. Sergio Hilario García Ramos
  100. ALEJANDRA ÁLVAREZ HUERTA
  101. Jazmín
  102. Roberto Yamil Pantoja Cedeño
  103. Myrnha Gisel Brizza Mateos González
  104. Jesús Manuel Cadena Flores
  105. Margarita Ibañez / Jóvenes por los Derechos Humanos México
  106. Elizabetha Consuegra
  107. Pedro Orozco Tapia/ encargado de Psicología en atención a personas con discapacidad DIF Monterrey
  108. Sarai Vega Espinosa
  109. Graciela Oliveto. ENCUENTRO AC
  110. Alma D. Estrada
  111. Daniela Aparicio Rojas
  112. Aaron Ojeda Leyva
  113. Lic. Ana Gabriela Góngora Soto
  114. Dulce Mariana Medina Estrada
  115. Sandra Lair Trejo
  116. Daniel Alvarez del Castillo, docente de psicología y psicólogo
  117. Patricia Martinez Lozano
  118. Jessica Rodríguez García
  119. Angélica Bautista Castro. Camino Libre Accesibilidad
  120. Luis Gerardo Arroyo Lynn
  121. Itzel De Jesús Torres
  122. Angel de Jesús Daniel Olveda
  123. Familias y Retos Extraordinarios AC
  124. Cristian Mendoza Vazquez
  125. Robertha Mabelin López Vázquez
  126. Rafael Loza Galarza
  127. Elizabeth Araiza Arredondo
  128. Baruch Martínez
  129. Jorge Luis Sarmiento León/ UNEZ
  130. Diana Guillermina Arocena Paniagua / Findedis
  131. Marcela Páramo. CENTRO PSICOEDUCATIVO FREIRE, AC
  132. Xochitl Francisca Loredo Salazar
  133. Violeta Maltos Rodríguez / IIDEJURE
  134. Marialú Castro Zaragoza
  135. Deneb Sofia H. Ortiz Orozco
  136. Xóchitl Francisca Loredo Salazar
  137. Diego Armando Díaz Ortiz
  138. Celeste Cruz Avilés/Sohuame Tlatzonkime
  139. Raúl Montoya Santamaría / Colectivo Chuhcan A.C.
  140. José Angel Robledo Cortes / Clínica Jurídica del PUDH
  141. Alejandro Herrero Castelán
  142. Angela Martinez
  143. Alejandra Leal Guerrero
  144. Eliana García

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