BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Human Rights Abuses in the Psychiatric Facilities, Orphanages and Rehabilitation Centers of Turkey

Mental Disability Rights International

This report describes the findings of a two-year investigation in Turkey by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) and exposes the human rights abuses perpetrated against children and adults with mental disabilities. Locked away and out of public view, people with psychiatric disorders as well as people with intellectual disabilities are subjected to treatment practices that are tantamount to torture. Inhuman and degrading conditions of confinement are widespread throughout the Turkish mental health system.

This report documents Turkey’s violations of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT), the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other internationally accepted human rights and disability rights standards. There is no enforceable law or due process in Turkey that protects against the arbitrary detention or forced treatment of institutionalized people with mental disabilities. There are virtually no community supports or services, and thus, no alternatives to institutions for people in need of support. Some of the most egregious human rights violations uncovered by MDRI include: the use of electroconvulsive or “shock” treatment on children and adolescents and as a form of punishment; starvation and dehydration; and a lack of rehabilitation and medical care.