#EndCageBeds: Despite international outcry ten years ago, people are still caged and strapped in psychiatric hospitals throughout the Czech Republic. Later today, MDAC launches a damning report calling for urgent action to stop these barbaric practices, in conjunction with our Czech partners the League of Human Rights.
“Recent cuts to government funding of free legal support in the UK will have a disproportionate and negative impact on children with mental disabilities – particularly those in the criminal justice system. Legal aid for all treatment matters, including for those prisoners with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues will be stopped.” says Rebecca Parry, UK researcher for MDAC’s project on Access to Justice for Children with Mental Disabilities.
Yesterday, the UN Committee on economic, social and cultural rights called on the Czech Republic to fully include all children in the mainstream education system, with resources and supports where necessary. In its ‘Concluding Observations’ the Committee also urged full-scale closure of institutions for people with disabilities, with investment in independent living and inclusion in the community.
European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has launched a major investigation into the European Union’s Cohesion Policy, following concerns that substantial funding is being used to breach the fundamental rights of EU citizens with disabilities. MDAC welcomes this broad-ranging investigation, as well as the commitment to involving civil society.
In a report released today, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said that human rights in Europe are in a “crisis unprecedented since the end of the Cold War”, and that people with disabilities face "discrimination on a daily basis".

In 2010 my colleague Eyong went to Kenya to find out what the top issues for people with disabilities were. There, he met with lots of great NGOs like Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Kenya, and the Kenyan Association of People with Intellectual Handicap.

Yesterday evening, MDAC Executive Director, Oliver Lewis chaired a seminar at Doughty Street Chambers in London, entitled 'Deprivation of Liberty'. The seminar explored the recent UK Supreme Court decisions in two conjoined cases. It also examined what happens when international law is not applied in the domestic context, and the need for change.
On 25 April 2014, in partnership with the Flemish organisation Gelijke Rechten voor ledere Persoon met een handicap (Equal Rights for Each Person with a disability - 'GRIP'), MDAC sent a collective complaint to the European Committee of Social Rights, challenging the policy of segregating children with disabilities in education in Flanders.
This blog post is co-written with Michael Bach. We presented ideas on how Northern Ireland needs to rethink the approach to legal capacity in March, at a conference organised by Mencap Northern Ireland and the Northern Irish Association for Mental Health.

In an article published on Monday in the Guardian newspaper in the UK, Beverly Angell explains how her 54-year old sister has lived in a 26-bedded residential care home run by the charity Scope for the last 38 years.


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