Human Rights Abuses Towards Children With Disabilities in Greece
On November 14th, 2014, the BBC published a story entitled “The Disabled Children Locked Up In Cages.” In this article, it explains stories of disabled Children and young adults who are living in homes run by the state in the town of Lechaina, which is in Southern Greece. It has been reported that in these homes, the children and adults are facing horrendous human rights abuses. There are over 60 children living in this home, and “many of whom are locked in cells or cages” (BBC, 2014).
As the BBC explains, children and young adults, such as “Fotis, who is in his twenties and has Down’s syndrome, sleeps in a small cell separated from the other residents by ceiling-high wooden bars and a locked gate. His cell is furnished only with a single bed. There are no personal possessions in sight anywhere in the centre.”
This is not the first time that these conditions were made known to the world. For example, “
The poor conditions first came to the attention of the authorities five years ago when a group of European graduates spent several months at the centre as volunteers. Catarina Neves, a Portuguese psychology graduate was among them.” She stated in the BBC article that “”On the first day there I was completely shocked… I could never have imagined that we would have this situation in a modern European country but I was even more surprised that the staff were behaving like it was normal…””
And despite years of attempting to bring attention and change to the issue, little has been done to stop these human rights abuses.
These actions by the state of Greece towards the children and young adults are clearly in violation of various human rights conventions that include but are not limited to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Domestic entities such as the Greek legal institutions, along with international organizations such as the Human Rights Council, the European Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations as a whole must act to ensure that these children’s rights are protected.
It is imperative to bring light to these human rights abuses, and to ensure that all humans have complete rights. The state must be active in protecting its citizens, and must not block access to these centers, which, unfortunately, it seems to be doing. Greece should do everything in its power to end these abuses. Furthermore, they must address the United Nations through the various human rights conventions and in fact ensure that they are fully protecting the rights of these individuals.