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Participation in Society

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines a diverse range of rights which are essential for a people to be recognised as members of and participants in broader civil society. The barriers to these rights stem from the same stereotypes about people with mental health problems or intellectual disabilities: that such people cannot make rational choices; that they are dangerous and unpredictable; and that as children they are uneducable. The issue confronting policymakers and the European Court is whether we understand people with mental disabilities as an integral part of our society. The chapter suggests the range of human rights consequences of being diagnosed with an intellectual disability or a mental health problem. The areas covered in the chapter are the right to community integration, right to education, right to property, right to vote, right to marry and found a family, right to associate, and right to work.

Keywords: civil society; community integration; family life; right to associate; right to education; right to property; right to work; voting rights



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