Disability Rights are Human Rights: The Rotenburg Center and Torture

Disabled people have had experience with what could be called torture. Indeed, there has always been a saying in the movement that torture can be justified by calling it a “corrective procedure.”

So writes Lisa Blumberg in Torture and Disability Rights on today’s Ragged Edge Online. Blumberg refers to the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts, where disabled students (some of whom have autism) were punished by having electric shock administered to them (see N.Y. report denounces shock use at school and Yes, it is shocking: More on the Judge Rotenburg Center’s use of electric shock, my earlier post).

Blumberg further notes that

People with orthopedic “deformities” who were clapped in casts with their muscles pulled in impossible directions know about “stress positions”. People who as children were displayed and photographed in hospital amphitheaters for all to see may have had memories stirred when they read of the scandal at Abu Ghraib [sic]prison.

Disability rights activists should see torture as a matter that involves us — regardless of whether it occurs here or in the context of the war on terror.

What if, Blumberg notes, an interrogator takes a prisoner’s not answering a question due to difficulties hearing or processing language as “intransigence”? For a detainee who has a disability or other health problem, “simulated drowning and induced hypothermia, which may invoke extreme stress and discomfort in a totally able-bodied person” can be fatal.

Disability rights are human rights.

Go here to read Torture and Disability Rights.

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    • http://autisminnb.blogspot.com/ Harold L Doherty

      Thanks for posting about the use of electric shock therapy which, to my knowledge, is not in general use today as a therapy or intervention for autistic persons.

      What do you think about the human rights of non-verbal, non-communicative, severely disabled children? Do they have the right to be educated and developed to their full potential like other children?

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      Thanks for reading here—in answer to your 2nd question, most definitely yes, if not even more.

    • http://autisminnb.blogspot.com/ Harold L Doherty

      You are welcome. I find your site commentary balanced and polite – even when I am not in complete agreement.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      I hope you’ll keep reading, and let me know what you think. More than appreciated—–