Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights calls for end to plenary guardianship in Serbia

Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights calls for end to plenary guardianship in Serbia

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Nils Muižnieks: Abolishing full incapacitation and plenary guardianship and implementation of deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities in Serbia

Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, Mr Nils Muižnieks, visited Serbia from 16 to 20 March 2015 and spoke with civil society organizations, independent institutions and decision-makers. The Commissioner said, “Serbia needs to take immediate steps to address serious issues relating to the right to legal capacity of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and their deinstitutionalization in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by which Serbia is bound.” In addition, the Commissioner urged the Serbian authorities to “review the existing legislation on legal capacity with a view to replacing the guardianship system with supported decision-making alternatives, abolishing full incapacitation and plenary guardianship as a first step.“

After the visit to residential institution Veternik together with the Protector of Citizens (the Ombudsman) and the Executive director of MDRI-S, the Commissioner expressed that deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion should be put high on the authorities’ agenda and urged them to develop ambitious plans in this context. ʺAs a first step the authorities should stop placing persons with disabilities in institutions, including the Veternik institution which I visited and where I witnessed the harsh reality that 548 persons are confronted with. The road map for deinstitutionalization developed by the Ombudsman and expert NGOs provides useful guidance’’.

MDRI-S reminds that the document “Roadmap to deinstitutionalization in the Republic of Serbia” was presented to the Parliamentary council for human and minority rights and gender equality on 3rd December 2014, when Mr Meho Omerovic, the president of the council assessed that the document “gives clear tasks” which should serve to Serbian MPs as a rulebook and guidance in solving the problem of institutionalization of persons with disabilities.

The Commissioner’s recommendations are the key guidelines for all relevant actors in the Republic of Serbia for harmonization and improvement of the legislation and practice in respect to human rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with international standards and obligations taken by Serbia.

 

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This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of PERSON (Partnership to Ensure Reforms of Supports in Other Nations) and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.