SPEARHEADING SOCIAL REFORM
When the report was finally made public after intense political pressure by CCHR, it became clear why psychiatrists wanted it kept secret: Forty percent of the patients in the countrys psychiatric hospitals, many of them elderly, did not need to be there; of these, half had no diagnosable mental illness. The motivation for commitment was solely financial. As a result of CCHRs actions, Frances involuntary commitment law was amended in 1990.
In Denmark, CCHR has a long history of exposing psychiatric abuses. In 1979, CCHR investigators discovered mind-control experiments using LSD were being conducted at Frederiksberg Hospital. As a result, the Justice Ombudsman initiated his own investigation. This resulted in a 75-page report strongly criticizing psychiatry and an order that all victims of mind-control experiments be compensated for the harm they suffered.
For years, Denmarks oppressive mental health laws empowered psychiatrists to force patients to undergo treatment. In 1995, widespread alarm at the growing and arbitrary use of coercive psychiatry led CCHR to bring together a number of humanitarian organizations to articulate their concerns in a public forum. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had already in 1994 recommended that proposals to strengthen the rights of psychiatric patients be implemented by the governments of all thirty-two Council of Europe member states a significant recognition that human rights violations in psychiatry had reached extreme levels.
CCHR Denmark subsequently investigated, documented and exposed crimes in psychiatric institutions, including the use of forced drugging and other coercive treatments which even resulted in patient deaths. Submissions calling for the investigation of psychiatry in Denmark have been made to various judicial committees, health committees, the European Council and the prime minister of Denmark. By the mid-1990s, more than two hundred psychiatrists internationally had been convicted of exploitation, sexual abuse and fraud, while another five hundred were under investigation.
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