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Office for the rights of persons with disabilities starts a new stage of “Deinstitutionalization” campaign


More than two years ago the Office has launched a campaign in Belarus aimed at reforming the existing forms of social support. The idea is to understand and analyze if people with disabilities are able to live independently in local communities and to find out what is needed for positive changes. Campaign’s initiators don’t claim to completely decline the existing experience but they say about important changes that should be done. For example, such innovative practices as assisted living and club house should be developed; it is also important to get rid of “common” guardianship in favour of individual assistance and of course not to forget about objectification of a person with disability understanding that he should take part in solving issues concerning his own life. Today the situation is different especially if we talk about people with some intellectual or psychic disabilities. Such people are found incapable and are placed to closed psychoneurological institutions.

Office for the rights of persons with disabilities and Lithuanian organization “Perspectives of psychic health” in the frames of the campaign have launched a joint project “Deinstitutionalization as a possibility to promote human rights of persons with intellectual and/or psychic disabilities in Belarus” which will be realized in the country till 2019.

We are planning that the new project will be aimed at timely reaction to violations of human right of this vulnerable group, - comments the Office’s coordinator Sergey Drozdovsky. - On the whole, we will try to promote deinstitutionalization and to reform old practices in health care system and social support which were inherited after the fall of USSR. USSR’s practices as a rule lead to significant violations of rights and cruel treatment of representatives of vulnerable groups.

The problem will be solved with the help of the campaign’s events. Among them there are - growth of the potential of Belarusian NGOs working on deinstitutionalization and advocacy topics; realization in 6 regions of Belarus of pilot projects and their constant support and monitoring; creation and support of the Coalition for deinstitutionalization; technical and economical explanation of the development of community services in the frames of deinstitutionalization; holding opinion polls on deinstitutionalization; campaigns aimed at raising the awareness; holding meetings and seminars.

We hope that at the end of the campaign’s second stage in 2019 Belarusian NGOs will be able to mobilize for promotion and control of deinstitutionalization process and effective advocacy and that instruments of deinstitutionalization will be prepared. And on the whole, we hope that interested parties and the society will be more active in supporting the idea of deinstitutionalization in Belarus.