DAA News Network

Europe: Disabled people continue to face abuse in institutions

Posted 24/10-10 at 22.41

Caged beds and other restraints are still used in a number of Council of Europe member states to keep disabled people "under control". Too little has been done to prevent this and other kinds of abuse in institutions. There is an atmosphere of impunity surrounding these violations.  

In Bulgaria, however, criminal investigations have begun into 166 deaths and 30 more cases of abuse of children living in state homes for young people with learning difficulties.

To address these issues, de-institutionalisation has been underway in some countries. In Albania, moving people to community and family-based housing has had some satisfactory results.In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia plans for such reforms have also been adopted.

The UN Convention defines standards which should be used to achieve better treatment of disabled people. It also questions the very existence of these large institutions. Disabled people, including people with mental health problems or learning difficulties, should have the right to independent living and to participate in the community. In many European countries this is not happening.



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