HRW demands end of inhuman condition for women, girls in mental hospitals


Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organisation on Monday, has demanded the Union Government to end abusive practices and inhuman conditions of women and girls in mental hospitals and state run NGO-run residential care institutions by organising effective monitoring of such facilities.

The NGO wants the Union Government to undertake comprehensive legal reform to abolish guardianship and recognise the legal capacity of all persons with disabilities on an equal basis on par with others.

Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, Disability Rights Director of HRW, Shantha Rau Barriga said, “Women and girls with disabilities in India are forced into mental hospitals and institutions, where they face unsanitary conditions, risk physical and sexual violence and experience involuntary treatment, including electroshock therapy”.

She said when HRW members visited 24 mental hospitals or general hospitals with psychiatric beds, rehabilitation centres, and residential care facilities and found cases of 20 women and 11 girls who are currently or were recently given electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) without their consent in four mental hospitals. A 45-year old woman with a psychosocial disability, was institutionalised by her husband and underwent ECT for months.

Ms. Barriga said the HRW conducted research during December 2012 and November 2014 in New Delhi, Kolkata Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Mysuru and analysed the situation of women and girls with disabilities based on over 200 interviews with women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities, their families, caretakers, mental health professionals, service providers, government officials and the police.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:54:29 AM |

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