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This month, MDAC and our partners at the League of Human Rights submitted a legal challenge against the Czech Republic on behalf of a boy who was denied access to numerous schools at the European Court of Human Rights. Jeník's case highlights the discriminatory denial of supports to children with disabilities to access mainstream education, a right guaranteed by international law.
The European Court of Human Rights today found the Romanian government responsible for the death of 18-year old Valentin Câmpeanu in sub-zero temperatures in a psychiatric hospital in 2004. The ruling will have implications for legal systems across Europe as the Court clarified that NGOs could represent people with disabilities who died and where there was no one else to seek justice.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will consider whether Russia subjected a 12 year old boy with physical and mental disabilities to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and denied his right of access to justice. MDAC submitted its comments on international law and the rights of people with disabilities to the Court last Friday.
Yesterday, Mr Nils Muižnieks, European Human Rights Commissioner, issued a report calling on the Romanian government to end the practice of segregating people with disabilities in institutions instead ensuring that they can live in the community.
#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.

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