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Violation of human rights contribute to mental health problems

December 7, 2019 4:30 pm

Sexual and gender-based violence is a widespread cause of physical and psychological harm and suffering amongst women and children.

Human Rights Director Ashwin Raj says this is a huge factor contributing to the growth of mental health issues in Fiji.

Raj says in situations of violence and discrimination, women’s ability to have control over their bodies and to make informed decisions free from coercion, discrimination and violence compromise their sexual and reproductive health.

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The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination commissioner shared the same sentiments expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on mental health.

UN Special Rapporteur Dainius Puras highlighted that the mental health of the Fijian population is an emerging priority.

Speaking on the session on Right to Health at the Attorney General’s Conference at the Intercontinental Resort in Natadola, Raj says there are multiple factors affecting our ability to enjoy physical and mental health.

“Cyberbullying is leading to depression and suicides. These challenges implore us to move away from the partitioning of rights and address the disproportionality between physical and mental health.”

Raj says the existential crisis posed by climate change, sexual and gender-based violence, the emergence of hard and synthetic drugs, torture, brutality and other forms of cruel and other range of issues contributes to mental health.

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