NGO MDAC calls for closure of state-run institutions for people with disabilities

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International NGO the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) is calling for the immediate closure of a Hungarian state-run institution for people with disabilities after an investigation allegedly discovered children and adults who had been tortured and abused, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal yesterday. 

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The MDAC team discovered what it described as shocking conditions — such as patients being held in caged beds, being tied down and signs of malnutrition — following repeated requests over a period of six months to conduct monitoring of the Topház Special Home, an institution in the Hungarian city of Göd that houses approximately 220 people with mental disabilities, the press statement claims.

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

“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,” said Steven Allen, MDAC campaigns director. “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.”

Following the investigation, MDAC, which is based in Hungary and the United Kingdom, is demanding the closure of the home and an investigation of the entire state system of these institutions. At the same time MDAC is calling on to the Hungarian government to respond the report immediately, arguing that the uncovered problems “appear to be systematic”.

Additionally, the NGO is calling for an investigation into the potential misuse of European Union funds, and is asking the European Commission, specifically the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), to open an audit of Topház and other Hungarian institutions for persons with disabilities, according to the press statement.

MDAC, which has recently changed its name to Validity, is an international human rights organization that uses the law to secure equality, inclusion and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide. The NGO says it operates at the global level as well as regional and domestic levels in Europe and Africa. It has participatory status with the Council of Europe and is entitled to lodge collective complaints under the Revised European Social Charter. It has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The full MDAC report is available at the NGOʼs website.

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