Horrible Abuses In Mexican Institutions For the Disabled

In a new report released yesterday, the group Disability Rights International castigated “atrocious and abusive conditions” at Mexican institutions for the mentally and physically disabled.  This is particularly shocking since a similar report released 10 years ago, highlighting similarly terrible conditions, led the Mexican government to promise reform and take the lead in writing international agreements; these promises, however, seem to have been very empty.

Quoted in a New York Times article, Eric Rosenthal, the director of Disability Rights International, said,

“I have witnessed abuses as atrocious as these in the psychiatric facilities and orphanages of some other countries. But only in Mexico have I encountered a system so lacking in protections that children literally disappear and adults remain nameless.”

At psychiatric hospitals, investigators found an over-reliance on psychotropic drugs instead of treatment for aggression and other behavioral disorders.  But, more disturbingly, two hospitals reported sending particularly aggressive patients for lobotomies, a surgical procedure that separates the prefrontal cortext from the rest of the brain, causing irreversible brain damage.  Shockingly, the practice is still legal in Mexico.

In a facility for people who are physically disabled, a reporter described a horrifying scene:

“Men walked around half-naked, feces littered a yard, bed sheets were missing, the smell of urine permeated a day room, bathroom faucets malfunctioned and patients lay sprawled on several patches of grass.”

One blind woman reported being raped by a staff member.  “I don’t have any hope,” she said. “I don’t have a nickel to get out of this place.”

There was no tracking or registry system for children in these institutions, so many simply disappeared, probably prey for human traffickers.

One thing is clear: the Mexican government needs to stop making false promises and make sure that the disabled are treated like people, and that they’re being hospitalized or institutionalized for the right reasons.  Many of the people in these facilities, the report pointed out, don’t need to be there, but their families are forced to abandon them because they don’t have the resources to care for them. 

This, simply put, is appalling, and the Mexican government has an obligation to stop making false promises and start taking this issue seriously.  Mexico has ratified agreements that it is now accused of violating, and the international community also needs to hold them to a higher standard.  The Mexican government, although it received the report yesterday, has made no comment.

Photo from Flickr.


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

Who writes these inane questions? "yes" -- DUH

Past Member 7 years ago

we have so many serious, serious issues to deal with and what is being done to these poor people is inhuman, evil, and screaming for justice....this must stop....and it's way past time for any government, Mexico, U.S., France, to stop ignoring reports...they are written for a purpose...read them and pay attention....it's past time to act now...

Carolyn F.
Carolyn F7 years ago

It sounds like they haven't progressed since the 16th or 17th century, We talk about how China disregards human rights and here is Mexico just to our south that does the same thing.Those poor people living with out any hope and no one to be their advocate especially the children. It is no wonder that people will do anything to get out of Mexico..

Elise Lanciault-Breton
Elise L7 years ago

I think people with a handicap should be helped and we should take this very seriously.

Something should be done. We always think of how it goes in our world, but thinking about it, we should notice that our world is NOT adapted to anyone who doesn't fit in! Which is very sad...

kaisuorvokki m.
kaisuorvokki m7 years ago

What crime is have this poor people done? Being mentally and physically ill? Mexican government should react NOW and there should be international pressure to do that!

Nancy M.
Nancy M.7 years ago

No names of the institutions where this supposedly happened..I'd like to see a detailed report.

Mary Ann C.
Mary Ann Coute7 years ago

It's so sickening to read about how some people are being treated as a play thing for the truly insane prepetrator of such unbelieveable actions. Why isn't there someone to drop-in without a schedule appointment to caught all of these injustices. I pray that these poor individuals who are stuck in these institutions will get someone from the government or a group sent by ,perhaps the United Nations, to oversee and make sure that they are cleaned up and treated for whatever is truly wrong with them. May God have mercy on them.

Miranda M.
Miranda M7 years ago

Imagine the loneliness, isolation, fear, sadness that a poor orphaned child must feel--not having ANYone in your corner, let alone a mommy or a daddy to love, protect, and hug you. Sooooo sad. Why must some people abuse when given the chance? Why cant they choose love instead???

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Just horrible! Where's the humanity? Where's the compassion? Sadly this kind of thing occurs in other countries as well and I'm sure here in the USA as well.

Rusty C.
Rusty C7 years ago

Here is suffering. Continuous and documented. Not the sacrilegious art(?) at the Smithsonian. But who would pay $750000 to commission work to highlight this abuse?