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Copyright (c) 2012 Fordham University School of Law
Fordham International Law Journal

SPECIAL REPORT: MENTAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CAMBODIA

May, 2012

Fordham International Law Journal

35 Fordham Int'l L.J. 895

Author

Daniel McLaughlin* and Elisabeth Wickeri**

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Following years of neglect, mental health has emerged as a critical public health and human rights issue. Worldwide, approximately 450 million people suffer from a mental disorder, 1 with lifetime prevalence rates estimated to be as high as thirty-three percent. 2 Mental disorders are responsible for twelve to fifteen percent of the total global burden of disease 3--a greater percentage than cardiovascular disease and twice as much as all cancers combined. 4 By 2030, depression is forecasted to be the single highest contributor to the burden of disease in the world. 5 Moreover, the poor and other marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by mental health problems. 6 According to the World Health Organization ("WHO"), "[o]ver 80% of people suffering from mental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disability, alcohol use disorders and those committing suicide are living in low-and middle-income countries." 7 Postconflict societies exhibit particularly high rates of mental disorders. 8 War, violence, and poverty, along with the breakdown in the social and civic fabric that accompanies such conflict, constitute additional mental health risk factors. 9

Today, more than three decades following the devastation of the Khmer Rouge period, few countries are still as associated with the word "trauma" as Cambodia. Yet, to date, little substantive research has been conducted to document the import of mental health in Cambodia. 10 This Report seeks to fill that gap through an innovative application of human rights norms to the Cambodian mental health landscape ...
 
 
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