Armenia Feature | Mental Illness & Misattributed Identity

Armenia’s Mental Health Problem

Taking the hard tack of institutionalization to handle its citizens with mental illnesses, Armenia has found itself subject to numerous human rights inquiries and accusations from some of the institutionalized claiming false imprisonment. Institutionalization has been wielded in disputes, taking advantage of faults in the legal process that deny those accused of being dangers to themselves or others the right to defend themselves. A condemnation of treatment practices promoting the weaponization of mental health diagnoses, the Guardian‘s report on the defects in Armenia’s mental healthcare system highlights the danger that comes with marginalizing people with mental illnesses.

Read more:
‘They locked me up and left me’: Armenia’s outdated mental health laws” (The Guardian)

Additional coverage:
Armenia: Report Details Psychiatric Hospital Abuses” (EurasiaNet)

(Image Credit: Emma Grigoryan/The Guardian)

Interregional News | Jamaican

US-based Jamaican writer wins Britain’s top literary prize
  • Novelist Marlon James has become the first Jamaican writer to win Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize.
  • He captured the award with his work A Brief History of Seven Killings, an epic crime novel weaving together multiple stories around the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976.
  • James’s first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was published in 2005; he currently lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College.

Read more:
Marlon James, Jamaican Novelist, Wins Man Booker Prize” (The New York Times)
Marlon James wins the Man Booker prize 2015” (The Guardian)
Amazon: A Brief History of Seven Killings

(Image Credit: Bryan Derballa/The New York Times)

France News | Intersex

French court rules in favor of establishing third gender option for intersex individual
  • A French court has for the first time allowed for the establishment of a third gender option for an individual’s legal status, ruling in favor of a 64-year-old intersex individual to change their status from male to “neutral gender.”
  • The judge ruled that the gender assigned to the individual at birth was “pure fiction” and that the creation of a third option was not the recognition of a third gender, but of the impossibility of ascribing binary gender to individuals who present with both male and female sexual characteristics.
  • A 2011 legal memorandum outlined administrative guidelines for intersex newborns, allowing for a one- to two-year deferral of gender assignment on a newborn’s birth certificate if the child presents as intersex, while Europe’s main human rights authority recently spoke out against surgical gender assignment for intersex newborns.

Read more:
Une personne de «sexe neutre» reconnue par l’état civil” (20 minutes, in French)
Le sexe « neutre » reconnu pour la première fois en France” (Le Monde, in French)
French court recognises third gender for first time” (France24)

(Image Credit: Luca Sartoni, via Le Monde)

Slovakia & Czech Republic News | Roma

Slovakia and the Czech Republic criticized for poor efforts at integrating Roma citizens
  • The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner highlighted educational segregation and high drop-out rates in Slovakia as evidence of the failure of Slovakia’s anti-discrimination measures.
  • Many Slovak Romas live in squalid conditions in illegal settlements, with only 17% entering secondary education according to a 2010 UN survey.
  • A report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance also pointed to ethnic segregation in Czech schools as inhibiting integration and lowering opportunity for Czech Romas.

“Although Slovakia’s anti-discrimination framework is comprehensive, it provides a differing degree of protection for various vulnerable social groups and must be reformed to close all protection gaps.”

Read more:
European human rights watchdog slams Roma segregation in Slovakia, Czech Republic” (Reuters)

Libya News | Tunisians

More than 50 Tunisians return home from Libya following abduction
  • Security sources reported 55 Tunisians were released and returned home following coordination with Libyan officials.
  • The Tunisians had been abducted from northwest Libya in retaliation for the arrest of a Libyan official on a UN-coordinated visit in Tunisia.
  • Tunisians in Libya have been vulnerable in the country’s instability, with 10 having been abducted from the Tunisian consulate before being released.

Read more:
Dozens of Tunisians freed in Libya a day after being kidnapped” (Reuters)
Dozens of Tunisian workers held by gunmen in Libya, families say” (Gulf News)