May 11, 2006
Abuse of Romanian Orphans
"Children tied to cribs and chairs, often cold, underfed and smeared with their own feces: Romania has tried over the last decade to erase those images of its orphanages seen around the world.But thousands of children in government-run institutions are still living in conditions that are little changed from a decade ago, investigators for Mental Disability Rights International found.
Writing in a report to be released today, just days before the European Union issues its final assessment on whether Romania has met human rights and other membership standards, researchers described an eerie silence in a ward where 65 abandoned children were housed, because "children who do not receive attention when they cry learn to stop crying." In an adult psychiatric hospital, investigators found some children wrapped head to toe in sheets used as full-body restraints. When the staff agreed to remove the sheet on a 17-year-old girl, the report states, "her skin came off with the sheet, leaving a raw open wound beneath it."
"It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen in 13 years of doing this work," said Eric Rosenthal, executive director of Mental Disability Rights International, a Washington-based group, and the co-author of the report." By Craig S. Smith, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 5-10-06 NVS)
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