Shackling of People with Psychosocial Disabilities Worldwide

The 72-page report, “Living in Chains: Shackling of People with Psychosocial Disabilities Worldwide,” examines how people with mental health conditions are often shackled by families in their own homes or in overcrowded and unsanitary institutions, against their will, due to widespread stigma and a lack of mental health services. Many are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same tiny area. In state-run or private institutions, as well as traditional or religious healing centers, they are often forced to fast, take medications or herbal concoctions, and face physical and sexual violence. The report includes field research and testimonies from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Palestine, the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, South Sudan, and Yemen.

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  • March 20, 2016

    Abuses against People with Psychosocial Disabilities in Indonesia

    This report examines how people with mental health conditions often end up chained or locked up in overcrowded and unsanitary institutions – without their consent – due to stigma and the absence of adequate community-based support services or mental health care. In institutions, they face physical and sexual violence; involuntary treatment, including electroshock therapy; seclusion; restraint; and forced contraception.

  • October 25, 2015

    Abuses Against People with Psychosocial Disabilities in Somaliland

    This 81-page report finds that men with perceived or actual psychosocial disabilities face abusive restraints, beatings, involuntary treatment, and overcrowding in private and public health centers. Most are held against their will and have no possibility of challenging their detention. In private centers in particular, those with psychosocial disabilities face punitive and prolonged chaining, confinement, seclusion, and severe restrictions on their movement. The findings highlight the importance of mental health services in post-conflict regions. According to the World Health Organization, Somaliland has high rates of psychosocial disability. 

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  • December 3, 2014

    Abuses against Women and Girls with Psychosocial or Intellectual Disabilities in Institutions in India

    This report documents involuntary admission and arbitrary detention in mental hospitals and residential care institutions across India, where women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities experience overcrowding and lack of hygiene, inadequate access to general healthcare, forced treatment – including electroconvulsive therapy – as well as physical, verbal, and sexual violence.

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  • October 2, 2012

    Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana

    This report describes how thousands of people with mental disabilities are forced to live in psychiatric institutions and spiritual healing centers, often against their will and with little possibility of challenging their confinement. In psychiatric hospitals, people with mental disabilities face overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.</p>

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