A recent report by the BBC on the Care Center for Disabled Children of Lechaina once again raises questions about the attitude of the Greek state toward people with disabilities, and disabled children in particular. Unfortunately, the care available at this center, which includes keeping disabled children locked in cages, reflects the complete absence of any state concern.
The Hellenic League for Human Rights notes that using cages follows an outdated care model based on coercion, containment and bad treatment of people with disabilities. It is the same logic that approximates psychiatric care with violence and deprivation. However, children with disabilities are entitled to care like all human beings, and not like animals that live in cages.
In recent years, the state's investment in care for people with disabilities has been shrinking. Thus, the "cages of Lechaina" are not just a matter of mentality, but also a matter of the country's wider policy toward welfare institutions, which allows systematic violations of human rights.
During the 1980s, reports of the international media on a mental hospital in Leros led to the reform of the psychiatric system. But how many such posts like these and how many cages do we need in order to implement a policy that shows real respect to the rights of children with disabilities?
Please find the BBC report on the Lechaina center here.