Advocacy Organization Exposes Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital

Posted on 25 August 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From Mental Disability Rights International Newsletter:

MDRI Exposes Deaths and Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital and Demands Immediate Government Action

August 13, 2008 – Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) and the Center for Justice in International Law (CEJIL) have filed a successful appeal to stop egregious abuses being perpetrated against people at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Paraguay.

In a petition filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), MDRI described a pattern of abuse, including four unexplained deaths, numerous complaints of sexual abuse and horrific physical abuse, including a castration, all within the past six months.

On July 29, the IACHR called on the Paraguayan government to take immediate action to protect the lives of all those detained at the facility and to report back to them on measures taken to prevent future abuses.

In 2003, the IACHR approved MDRI and CEJIL’s request for immediate intervention at the same hospital following the discovery of children, diagnosed with autism, locked in cages for years. On the heels of this intervention, the Paraguayan government signed an agreement with MDRI and CEJIL to gradually deinstitutionalize its mental health system while expanding the services and supports available in the community.

“Paraguay’s mental health system continues to systematically violate the rights of persons who use its services,” said Alison A. Hillman, Director of MDRI’s Americas Programs. “We anticipate that the Inter-American Commission’s intervention will bring added pressure on the government to address the root causes of these abuses and fulfill their commitments to fully integrate persons with disabilities into the community.”

MDRI is an advocacy organization that exposes human rights abuses against people with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities around the world, particularly within institutions. Learn more about MDRI and their activities at their web site: http://www.mdri.org



This notice was recently circulated via email in MDRI’s electronic newsletter. Individuals may subscribe directly to MDRI’s newsletter by entering their email address at http://www.mdri.org/mdri-enews.html

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NEWS: Human Rights Abuses of Disabled Children, Adults in Serbia

Posted on 17 November 2007. Filed under: Blind, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL

Embargoed Until November 14th, 2007

Contact: Laurie Ahern – 202.361.1402
Eric Rosenthal – 202.361.9195
Email: Lahern@mdri.org
Email: Erosenthal@mdri.org

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ACCUSES SERBIA OF TORTURE AND ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES

Belgrade, Serbia – November 14, 2007 – Following a four year investigation, Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) released its findings today in a report detailing the human rights abuses perpetrated against children and adults in Serbia with disabilities, forced to live out their lives in institutions. Torment not Treatment: Serbia’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities describes children and adults tied to beds or never allowed to leave their cribs – some for years at a time. In addition, filthy conditions, contagious diseases, lack of medical care, rehabilitation and judicial oversight renders placement in a Serbian institution life threatening for both children and adults. The children and adults had a range of disabilities including Downs Syndrome, deafness, visual impairment, autism, and mobility impairments.

“These are Serbia’s most vulnerable citizens. Thousands confined to institutions are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and abuse. Children and adults tied down and restrained over a lifetime is dangerous and painful treatment tantamount to torture – clear violations of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Attorney Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director of MDRI and an expert on human rights law.

“We call on the government of Serbia to stop these abuses immediately and to respect the human rights of all people with disabilities,” concluded Rosenthal.

For more information visit www.mdri.org, where you can download a copy of the full report in PDF format, videos, and photos. The video footage does not have captions available. As a deaf person, I found that if you read the executive summary of the report and look at some of the photos before viewing the video then most of the images in the video speak for themselves. I’m guessing that there is probably no audio description for blind people; as a sighted deaf person, I’m afraid I’m not in a position to judge how much sense the video will make without it. Readers who are deaf or blind–or who support their interests–may wish to contact MDRI to encourage them to make their video materials available with both captions and audio description.

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. We Can Do published an earlier press release from MDRI reporting on similar human rights abuses in Argentina; the Argentina report, entitled Ruined Lives, can still be downloaded from the front page of the MDRI web site (scroll down the page). More reports about human rights abuses of people with disabilities in Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Kosovo, Russia, and Hungary can be downloaded in PDF format from http://www.mdri.org/publications/index.htm

Most of the text of this blog post comes from the MDRI press release, which can be retrieved at www.mdri.org.


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NEWS: Human Rights Violations of Argentines with Psychosocial, Mental Disabilities

Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

SEGREGATED FROM SOCIETY IN ATROCIOUS CONDITIONS – ARGENTINA’S MENTAL
HEALTH SYSTEM VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2007— Argentina is among countries with the most psychiatrists per capita in the world—yet people detained in the country’s public psychiatric institutions are subject to serious human rights violations. Ruined Lives, an investigative report released today by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)and the Argentine human rights organization Center for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), finds that 25,000 people are locked away in Argentina’s institutions, segregated from society, many for a lifetime and with no possibility of ever getting out.

Ruined Lives exposes widespread abuse and neglect in these institutions, including people burning to death in isolation cells, complete sensory deprivation in long-term isolation, forced sterilization and sexual and physical abuse. In one psychiatric penal ward in Buenos Aires, men were locked naked in tiny, barren isolation cells with no light or ventilation for months at a time. At another institution, four people died while locked in isolation cells. Toilets overflowed with excrement and floors were flooded with urine.

Investigators found a 16 year-old boy in a crib, his arms and legs tied to his body with strips of cloth, completely immobilized. Staff said he had been tied up since being admitted to the institution more than a year before.

“Argentina’s mental health system detains people on a massive scale without any legal protections,” said Eric Rosenthal, MDRI’s ExecutiveDirector. “The inhumane and degrading treatment we observed is banned by international human rights treaties and should not be tolerated in any society.”

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities world wide. For more information, visit www.mdri.org.

CELS is an Argentine organization devoted to fostering and protecting human rights and strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.cels.org.ar.

The report and photographs can be downloaded from the MDRI web site in either English or Spanish.

MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL
1156 15th St NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 296-0800, Fax: (202) 728-3053
E-mail: mdri@mdri.org
http://www.mdri.org

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI</a).



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