Report on the right to mental health of people on the move


Published:
27 July 2018
Author:
Special Rapporteur on the right to health
Presented:
At the UN General Assembly’s 73rd session
Link:

Summary

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health addresses the opportunities and challenges for the realization of the right to mental health of people on the move, in a global context where discriminatory attitudes and xenophobic political rhetoric have created environments of fear and intolerance. Those environments damage the quality of human relationships. They bring mistrust, disrespect and intolerance into societal life. Such environments affect the realization of the right to mental health of people on the move and interfere with the right of all to mental health.

He stresses that the environment of fear and intolerance resulting from negative attitudes and discourse not only harms the mental health and well-being of people on the move, but also threatens the development of enabling environments and has detrimental effects on the mental health and well-being of the general public.

The Special Rapporteur raises the issue of laws and policies that institutionalize the separation of children on the move from their families, or complicate family reunification. These laws contribute significantly to adverse mental health and well-being of children and adolescents on the move, generating effects that could last for years or even generations. He shows how rights-based responses to mental health and migration are transformative opportunities to rebuild and strengthen health and social systems that support and restore dignity, inclusion and rights for everyone.

The report includes recommendations for States and relevant stakeholders within the humanitarian, development and human rights communities to address comprehensively the identified challenges. In particular, he calls on States to immediately halt the practice of detaining migrant children and separating them from their families.

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