Friday, June 20, 2008

Brazil condemned by OAS for crime against psychiatric patient

After fighting for justice under Brazilian laws Damião Ximenes family was advice by humans right advocates to search for justice elsewhere.

Here you can find the summary off the case:

"On October 1, 1999, Albertina Ximenes placed her son, Damião Ximenes Lopes, in the care of the Casa de Repouso Guarapes, the only psychiatric clinic in the Sobral region. Three days later on October 4, Albertina returned to the clinic to visit Damião, who was suffering from a psychiatric disorder, but was informed that he "was not in a state to receive visits." Dissatisfied, Albertina entered the clinic shouting Damião's name. Damião came to meet her, but was in a deplorable state, bleeding, with various wounds, hematomas and his hands tied. She asked a staff person at the clinic to take him for a bath, and afterwards sought the doctor in charge, Dr. Francisco Ivo de Vasconcelos, Clinical Director of the Casa de Repouso Guararapes, and forensic medical examiner in Sobral. The doctor merely prescribed some medicines, without examining Damião.

When Albertina returned to look for her son again, a cleaner at the clinic told her that a fight had taken place between Damião and the nurses, and as a result of this Damião ended up badly hurt. Albertina found him beside a bed, completely naked with his hands tied. Unable to take Damião away, Albertina returned home. By the time she had returned home, the Casa de Repouso Guararapes had already rung informing her of the death of her son."

After a long process under the OAS the sentence:

"During the 119 th Session of the IACHR in October 2003, the IACHR concluded that the Brazilian State was responsible for violating rights with respect to personal integrity, life, judicial protection and judicial guarantees, foreseen by articles 5, 4, 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights. These violations resulted from the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of Damião and the torture and subsequent murder within the Casa de Repouso Guararapes. The violation of the obligation to investigate the crimes, of the right to appeal and judicial guarantees were linked to the investigation of the events and the Brazilian judicial system."

"Late last night, 17th August 2006, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, the highest tribunal within the OAS, condemned Brazil for the death of Damião Ximenes Lopes, which occurred on the 4th of October 1999 in the Clínica de Repouso Guararapes, in Sobral, in the state of Ceará."

"The Inter-American Court of Human Rights' sentence in the Damião Ximenes case is the first to deal with the cruel and discriminatory treatment of people suffering from psychological disorders. The acknowledgement by the Court of the vulnerable situation to which these people are subjected widens international jurisprudence, and strengthens the denunciations of organizations working against internment of psychiatric patients, particularly with respect to human rights violations perpetrated within psychiatric institutions."

The Damião Ximenes case should be a lesson for all of those families who want to find justice when there are human rights violations against psychiatric patients.
It's not only in Brazil that there are these violations.
Take a look at OAS 's work.

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