Table 13:  Disability and freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • People in an institution are kept in cage beds and are forced to eat and use the toilet in bed.
  • People in an institution who have been labeled “dangerous” by staff are tied or chained to chairs or beds for hours and even days at a time.
  • Persons with disabilities are subjected to “correctional therapy” at psychiatric institutions.
  • Persons with disabilities are involuntary administered psychiatric medication including neuroleptics.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRPD 15 (1) No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his or her free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.  CRPD: noting that in China “For those involuntarily committed persons with actual or perceived intellectual and psychosocial impairments, the Committee is concerned that the “correctional therapy” offered at psychiatric institutions represents inhuman and degrading treatment. Further, the Committee is concerned that not all medical experimentation without free and informed consent is prohibited by Chinese law.” Urging China “to cease its policy of subjecting persons with actual or perceived impairments to such therapies and abstain from involuntarily committing them to institutions” and “to abolish laws which allow for medical experimentation on persons with disabilities without their free and informed consent.” CRPD/C/CHN/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD: urging Peru to “promptly investigate the allegations of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment in psychiatric institutions, to thoroughly review the legality of the placement of patients in these institutions, as well as to establish voluntary mental health treatment services, in order to allow the persons with disabilities to be included in the community and release them from the institutions.” CRPD/C/PER/CO/1 (2012).

CRPD: urging Argentina “to immediately approve the bill on the creation of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture so that institutionalized persons with disabilities can be monitored and protected from actions that may constitute acts of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” CRPD/C/ARG/CO/1 (CRPD, 2012)

CRPD: urging Hungary to “amend Act CLIV on Healthcare and abolish the provisions thereof that provide for a legal framework for subjecting persons with disabilities with restricted legal capacity to medical experimentation without their free and informed consent.” CRPD/C/HUN/CO/1 (CRPD, 2012)