Mentally ill man chained under house

Mentally ill man chained under house

Limited funds and support from NGOs and government agencies has forced a Svay Rieng family to put a mentally ill relative in chains, to keep him from frequent violent confrontations with family and neighbours, family members and rights groups say.

Human rights NGO Licadho yesterday said they would investigate the case of Sen Phally, 33, who neighbours reported has been chained under his family’s house for the past two years, said Licadho coordinator Nut Bopel Rot.

“Putting this man in chains like this violates his human rights,” Bopel Rot said yesterday. “But his family has no choice, because he is mentally ill, he has attacked his family and neighbours.”

Phally’s family has sought assistance from the Ministry of Social Affairs and several NGOs, his sister Sen Nai said.

If Phally is not chained, he will likely attack family or neighbours, but the family cannot afford mental health treatment. “Help is difficult to come by, because most homes for the mentally ill do not accept people of his age,” Nai said.

Adhoc coordinator Prak Saran agreed. “No authority will accept him; he is not a young child,” Saran said yesterday. “He looks like an old man, and is mentally ill, so we cannot blame his family [for chaining him].”

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