Abuse, torture discovered in investigation of state-run home for mentally disabled

May 3, 2017

According to a press-release sent to the Budapest Beacon from international NGO Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC), the organization is calling for the immediate closure of Hungarian state-run institutions for people with disabilities after an investigation of one home discovered children and adults who had been tortured and abused, including being tied to beds and restrained with makeshift straitjackets.

One three-year-old was found in a caged bed, not able to walk and showing signs of muscle atrophy. Other residents were tied down, some had open wounds and there were signs of malnutrition.

The MDAC team discovered the shocking conditions following repeated requests over six months to monitor Topház Special Home, an institution in the Hungarian town of Göd that houses about 220 people with mental disabilities.

Releasing a report today, the NGO says: “The MDAC team saw incidences of torture or ill-treatment against residents: people with multiple disabilities inside metal cage beds, seclusion and physical restraint behind locked doors, a young boy in a makeshift straitjacket, untreated open wounds, and indications of malnutrition.”

MDAC Campaigns Director Steven Allen said: “The conditions, abusive practices and evidence of violence seen in this institution are the result of systemic failings in law, policy and regulation, and a lack of effective and independent monitoring.

“The 220 people in Topház, like tens of thousands of other children and adults with disabilities in institutions in Hungary, continue to be warehoused away from the public gaze.”

MDAC, an NGO based in Hungary and the UK, is now demanding the closure of the home and an investigation of the entire state system of these institutions.

In addition, MDAC is calling for an investigation into the potential misuse of European Union funds, and is asking the European Commission, especially the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), to open an audit of Topház and other Hungarian institutions for persons with disabilities.

The European Commission is urged to consider whether the allegations breach the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Given that the problems appear to be systemic, MDAC’s report calls on the Hungarian government to respond immediately.