5. Context


Photo: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

There can be no therapeutic justification for the use of solitary confinement and prolonged restraint of persons with disabilities in psychiatric institutions.

Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture


MDAC undertook this research in response to the failure of the Czech Government to address the serious human rights abuses that result from the use of cage beds in psychiatric institutions. In 2003, MDAC uncovered the extensive use of cage beds in the Czech Republic (and elsewhere), noting that their use violated international human rights law.17

Since then, the international community has continued to express serious concern about the extent of coercion in Czech psychiatric institutions. Both the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) have severely criticised the ongoing use of cage beds, and the failure of the Czech Government to eradicate their use.

17 Mental Disability Advocacy Center, Cage Beds: Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Four EU Accession Countries, (Budapest: MDAC, 2003), at pp. 42-6.

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