Torment not Treatment: Serbia’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities is the product of an investigation spanning four years, by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), into the human rights abuses perpetrated against institutionalized children and adults in Serbia. From July 2003 to August 2007, MDRI has documented a broad array of human rights violations against people with disabilities, segregated from society and forced to live out their lives in institutions (all observations in this report are from December 2006 through August 2007 except as noted). Filthy conditions, contagious diseases, lack of medical care and rehabilitation, and a failure to provide oversight renders placement in a Serbian institution lifethreatening. MDRI investigators found children and adults with disabilities tied to beds or never allowed to leave a crib – some for years at a time. Inhumane and degrading treatment in Serbian institutions – in violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – is widespread. Children and adults with disabilities tied down and restrained over a lifetime are being subjected to extremely dangerous and painful “treatment ” that is tantamount to torture.
Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Convention in 2009, Reaffirming also all previous resolutions on the rights of the child of the Council, the Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly, the most recent being Council resolutions 7/29 of 28 March 2008, 9/13 of 24 September 2008 and 10/8 of 26 March 2009 and Assembly resolution 63/241 of 23 December 2008.
To inform and encourage debate on the issues affecting children, persons with disabilities and older persons in institutions and how the areas of concern should be addressed. Its overriding purpose is to draw attention to two issues: first, the situation of children, persons with disabilities and older persons living in institutions and second, the responsibility of Governments to develop community-based alternatives to institutional care.