An international body entrusted with upholding human rights across the Americas has called for an immediate ban on the controversial use of electric shocks on severely disabled children in a school outside Boston.
The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton – Massachusetts – is believed to be the only school in the world that routinely inflicts high-powered electric shocks as a form of punishment on vulnerable children and adults.
About 47 of its students are currently subjected to the “treatment” – which involves individuals being zapped with electric currents far more powerful than those discharged by stun guns.
Disability rights campaigners have tried for decades to stop the practice – which the school’s administrators call ‘aversive therapy’.
So far the institution has managed to fend off all opposition – arguing that electric shocks are an acceptable way of discouraging harmful habits.
Now the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has issued a rare formal notice known as ‘precautionary measures’ that calls for immediate cessation of the electric shocks.
In a seven-page resolution the Washington-based panel says that the practice poses a ‘serious impact on the rights’ of the vulnerable children at the school – ‘particularly on their right to personal integrity which may be subjected to a form of torture’.