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Council of Europe Commissioner says Romania should do more to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and women from violence

“There are systemic obstacles which seriously hinder the effective protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in Romania”

After visiting Romania in November 2018, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic has released a report on the situation of human rights of persons with disabilities, violence against women and the ongoing reform of the judiciary and criminal legislation.

The Commissioner highlighted that extensive measures are required to address outstanding gaps in the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities despite improvements in legislative and policy framework. In her report she urges authorities to better collaborate with NGOs, strengthen monitoring and clarify the mandates of responsible institutions.

She was also particularly concerned about the underfunding of the social care system for adults and children with disabilities and regrets that after her report, the Parliament adopted a budget law for 2019 which fails to guarantee the allocation of state budget funds to support the child protection system and the social care system for persons with disabilities.  These developments can have serious consequences for the observance of the human rights of children, with or without disabilities, and of adults with disabilities in Romania and go against the Commissioner’s recommendations.

In the report Ms. Mijatovic calls on the Romanian authorities to repeal the current legislation which allows persons with disabilities to be involuntarily place in closed institutions and recommends taking urgent measures to mitigate the most severe human rights violations caused by involuntary placements. She says “there is a need to move from the institutionalisation of persons with disabilities to their full inclusion in society. The authorities should develop community-based support services, increase the accessibility of public spaces and services and promote a more inclusive labour market.”

She stresses that “providing children with disabilities with care in families, preventing their discrimination in education and ensuring their protection from any form of violence or abuse is paramount.”

Regarding the planned amendments to the guardianship system for persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to ensure that the new system will no longer allow the deprivation of such persons of their legal capacity, which severely limits their human rights. “The authorities should safeguard the right of persons with disabilities to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.”

To read the full report click here