Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Horrific institutions in Serbia warehouse people with intellectual disabilities

September 1st, 2008

With no hope for recovery, death is the only way out

Ann Curry, on Dateline NBC, takes a film crew into Serbian institutions that look much the way institutions did in the U.S. a generation ago.

People with intellectual disabilities are shunned and warehoused, imprisoned without supervision under filthy conditions behind crumbling walls and rusted bars. They are given no treatment and meager care that may include being drugged or tied up day after day to control the anxiety and aggression that comes of being locked away. One man has been imprisoned in a crib for all of his 21 years. Among those shown are people with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other conditions.

Disability is a source of deep shame in Serbia, and parents are urged to put children with intellectual disabilities away in remote government institutions or risk financial ruin. Some surrender their children without ever glimpsing their faces.

Rasim Ljajic, a government official in charge of the institutions, acknowledged that the conditions are inhumane, but said the government does not have resources to fix the situation.

Said Laurie Ahern, associate director of Mental Disability Rights International:

The idea of being locked away and the idea that somehow these people, that their lives aren’t valuable, that they are less than human, because they were born with a disability. It’s horrendous.  And it’s awful. And it shouldn’t happen.

The video is here.

See earlier post here.

See also:

Reporter’s notebook, by Tim Sandler, NBC News producer

Shunned: Photos from inside Serbia’s mental institutions

4 Responses to “Horrific institutions in Serbia warehouse people with intellectual disabilities”

  1. Zoran Says:

    This is not unfamiliar monstrosity to other societies, it is a fact and just let us not forget that. But, what makes it so many times worse than in other countries is a fact that this is happening in an country among orthodox people who claim to be the “good ones”, declare as “the Chosen ones” and call themselves the “Holy-Cross bearers”. Of how much lies these people are made of is something only God knows. I have not heard any other nation ( except for crazy Russians and Americans ) complimenting themselves with those blasphemous names and cheerfully waving with tickets to Heaven they imagine to already have. I just know that it’s nearly impossible to live here and manage to keep the sanity intact. I am Serb.

  2. Renate Says:

    Yes, agree. These institutions are on a par with Nazi concentration camps. Luckily our Western society has found more civilized ways to get rid of disabled people: prenatal and embryo screening and selection.

  3. Amy Allison Says:

    The atrocities brought to light by MDRI and Dateline are beyond belief. Children, teens and adults confined to cribs for their entire lives is unforgivable. Disability advocates around the world should unite with one voice to demand the Serbian goverment remedy this situation. The people languishing in these institutions may not have the several years government officials say it will take to close these institutions.Visit http://www.mdri.org/FAQs.html
    to learn what you can do to help stop the abuse in Serbia.

  4. EB Says:

    These institutions are on a par with Nazi concentration camps.

Leave a Reply


Please copy the string hnfoSd to the field below:


About the Site

More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

Join journalist Patricia E. Bauer as she seeks to bring you the best information about what's happening now and what it may mean for you and your loved ones.

Read More »



Read More »


Read More »


Read More »

School Restraints

Read More »

Prenatal Diagnosis

Read More »

Obama Administration

Read More »

My Articles & Essays

Read More »




Read More »


Read More »

Mailing List

Sign up for our mailing list!

RSS Our RSS Feed

  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007