My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Open letter and statement on Janet Love
As constitutional lawyers, legal academics, human rights and social justice activists who have worked with Janet Love while she has been the National Director of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), we are surprised and dismayed by Premier Helen Zille’s implication that she will not act independently of narrow party politics in her capacity as a human rights commissioner.
During the last five years, Janet Love has been the National Director of the LRC. In the face of a gradual decrease of grant funding for human rights work, she has fought to secure its survival. Despite competition from the private sector and the LRC’s inability to pay competitive salaries, she has succeeded in attracting talented lawyers to continue the LRC’s long tradition of human rights litigation and advocacy.
Under the leadership of Janet Love, the LRC has fought fearlessly for the rights of the poor and powerless, without favour to the ANC or any other political party. During this period, the LRC has for example undertaken the following litigation and advocacy:
That record speaks for itself. It shows that Janet Love has not hesitated to promote human rights by litigating against and criticising government at all levels, whichever party is in power.
We are therefore concerned that Ms Zille has criticised the SA Human Rights Commission in a manner which does a grave injustice to someone who has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to human rights in South Africa. In the process, she has also undermined the LRC, which is one of South Africa’s oldest and most widely respected human rights organisations.
1. Adv Geoff Budlender SC
2. Adv Richard Moultrie
8. Professor Halton Cheadle
9. Bishop Paul Verryn
11.Professor Jonathan Klaaren
12.Professor Hugh Corder
13.Professor Pierre de Vos
14.Adv Nasreen Rajab-Budlender
16.Jacob van Garderen
17.Adv Steven Budlender
18.Adv Stuart Wilson
19.Dr Jackie Dugard
20.Judge Kathie Satchwell
21.Dr Rachel Wynberg
27.Professor Richard Calland
32.Advocate Adila HassimBACK TO TOP