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Resource id #4 British media accuses Teresa’s nuns of tying up children with mental disabilities - Volume 3 Issue 16: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 3 Issue 16 - August 15, 2005

British media accuses Teresa’s nuns of tying up children with mental disabilities

D.N.I.S. News Network –Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity (M.o.C.), the order founded by Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa in 1950, has been accused of using physical restraints on children with mental disabilities in a centre being run by it, according to a British television documentary.

The news about the content of the documentary was, however, leaked to British newspapers and has taken many by surprise evoking international condemnation. Incidentally, the M.o.C. has accepted the claim, but asserted that children were tied rarely and this was done to save them from harming themselves and others.

Use of chains and cages to restrain people with severe mental disabilities has been banned by many nations and is considered an in-human practice as per the modern treatment practices.

Physical restraints are used only when absolutely necessary for the safety of the child and for educational purposes for limited periods of time," Sister Nirmala, Superior General of M.o.C., was quoted as saying.

In its programme yet to be telecast, Britain's Five News said it had uncovered "serious shortcomings" at a care centre run by M.o.C. in Kolkata. British Reporter Donal MacIntyre secretly filmed many of the 59 children aged between six months and 12 years at Daya Dan, a care centre set up a year after Mother Teresa's death in 1997, "tied by their ankles to their cots at night, restrained while being fed and left up to 20 minutes on the toilet by their care givers".

Sister Nirmala said: "Our homes continue to be simple, providing immediate and effective service to the poorest of poor. We continue to provide all that is necessary for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of those under care and would continue to improve the quality of our care.

Reacting to the allegations, Sister Marie thanked the person concerned "for bringing to our notice what you consider lapses in the quality of care and hygiene in this home.

The reported claim is absurd as only one five-year-old boy who is hyper-active and hops from one bed to another at night has to be tied by one ankle gently and when he falls asleep is then untied, she asserted.

But we are improving. Nothing is perfect," Sister Marie added. "It is common sense that there must be some reason (if restraint has to be used) though there is always be a better way." M.o.C. runs more than 750 care centres across the world tending the orphans, sick, destitute and dying.

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