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The user/survivor movement emerged in the early 1970s and became formalized in 2001 when it was launched at its founding conference in Vancouver, Canada. This chapter draws upon significant milestones in this discourse from within the user/survivor movement, starting with the paper written in 1999 by Mary O'Hagan, the founder and one of the first co-chairs of the World Federation of Psychiatric Users (WFPU), called "A call to open the door", which was a plain-language parable on human rights for people with psychiatric disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol was adopted on December 13, 2006. The CRPD recognizes disability rights as human rights. Its advocacy concern has been to end forced or coercive treatments, and help distressed receive the appropriate care they need, to be free from stigma, exclusion, and other abuses of their human rights.
One of the most perplexing and elusive phenomena in the HIV epidemic is the concept of internalized stigma. The phenomenon of stigma is well understood and lavishly described in the AIDS literature. Internal stigma is the individual's internal appropriation of the fear, rejection, and condemnation with which many react to AIDS. The non-description, or mis-description, of internalized stigma in the literature of AIDS is the more puzzling because the phenomenon is well-known in other settings. The "self-hating Jew" and the "self-loathing gay man" are readily recognizable constructs of the psychological and other literature. In South Africa's vile past of racial hatred, Steven Bantu Biko recognized that the stigma of racial subordination had an internal impact that had to be eradicated first, if notions of white superiority and black subordination were to be effectively overcome. Internalized stigma is deadly because it incapacitates health-seeking choices.
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