Monitoring of Human Rights in Mental Health Care Institutions in Europe



Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania


Many mental health care institutions belong to a list of places, where persons could be deprived of their liberty. A number of patients in psychiatric hospitals and social care homes are placed against their will.

Deprivation of liberty creates risks for violation of human rights, therefore effective control of such institutions in order to prevent various types of ill-treatment is essential. Several types of monitoring are applied in European countries. 47 European countries are parties to “European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. According to this convention monitoring of various places of detention, including mental health care institutions, is performed. On the national level the role of monitoring performed by National Preventive Mechanisms is gradually increasing.

Reports produced by various monitoring bodies still show the existence of a wide spectrum of problems in many European countries. Issues, such as, safeguards surrounding involuntary hospitalization, the use of restraint measures, treatment regime, and material conditions are still require increased vigilance.