HUMAN RIGHTS ARE EVERYONE’S RIGHTS
At the beginning of 2015 there were 25.000 children and adults living in Romania in institutions for persons with mental disability – meaning they were placed under the so called social “protection” of the state. However, only in the span of three years (2011 – 2014), 1.500 patients had died in 27 out of the 41 Romanian counties.
THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE GRAVELY CONCERNED BY THE WAY ROMANIA RESPECTS THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES
In May 2015, the UN Committee against Torture expressed worry regarding the following issues:
The standards of living and treatment faced by intellectually disabled persons, adults and minors, which are placed in psychiatric hospitals, wards and social care institutions, resulting in numerous deaths among the patients, due to negligence, lack of basic services and the use of restraints, lack of medical and psychological treatment, severe malnutrition as well as inhumane and degrading treatment; also noted is the absence of investigations following reported deaths […] and the great number of people suffering from psycho-social disabilities and mental disorders, placed in institutions which show no progress in the transition from institutions to family and community centers.
THE AUTHORITIES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AWARE OF THESE ISSUES
The CLR (Center for Legal Resources) protects the rights of institutionalised persons with disabilities ever since 2003, conducting checks and visits to such institutions and reporting their findings of abuse and grave violations of human rights to the authorities. The clearest proof is the victory which the CLR accomplished at CEDO, representing Valentin Campeanu against Romania, after the 18 year old youth died in a psychiatric hospital in Romania, due to negligence, discrimination, abuse and the repeated errors which he fell victim to. Moreover, the press broadly covered (perhaps insufficiently) his story along the years, therefore the authorities have always been informed as to the extent of these problems. However, the response of political and institutitional representatives merely alludes to some formal strategies mixed with political statements.
The UN Committee against Torture (UN CAT) – gravely concerned by the way Romania respects the rights of persons with mental disabilities
Find out about the law propsal for establishing the Independent Monitoring Mechanism
See the CLR’s monitoring reports and the authorities answers
YOU HAVE THE KEY! FREE THEM FROM THEIR DEATH CAMPS!
In December 2014, the CLR launched the “Death Camps Next to You” campaign, which seeks to accomplish the following:
⇒ bring into public focus the abuse and violation of human rights which the CLS has been documenting in their last 15 monitoring visits, conducted at institutions for persons with disabilities, between 2014 and 2015;
⇒appeal to the voting of a bill which means to create the “Independent Monitoring Mechanism”, an independent authority which is supposed to guard the rights of institutionalised persons with intellectual disabilities;
⇒ fight prejudice and discrimination faced by persons with intellectual disabilities, promote their right to a free life, with access to proper services maintained in communities, like education, counseling, medical treatment and, least but not least, unrestricted access to justice.
DEATH CAMPS NEXT TO YOU PHOTO EXHIBION
“I had seen a phew photos before, I had heard stories from other psychologists or lawyers that had been to these places, but I expected to be stronger, more detached, and be more the “anthropologist” that observes objectively. It’s hard to say what touched me the most, but what comes to mind if I close my eyes is the feeling of isolation, confinement. I was feeling that if I would stay there a little longer, somehow I will never go out again.” – Odeta Catană, photographer
Between 2014-2015, photographers Odeta Catană and Dan Ava joined the Centre for Legal Resources (CLR) teams during unannounced visits in institutions for persons with mental disabilities. The two photographers managed to capture moments from the lives of a category of persons who, in Romania, the state keeps isolated from society, instead of helping them live an independent and dignifying life inside the community.
Besides the two photographers’ professional photos, there are also a dozen more taken with one-use cameras by persons with mental disabilities living in these institutions. We assembled all these photos into a street installation resembling a cage, in our view a realistic interpretation, with the purpose of generating a change into the state’s policy towards this vulnerable group of people.
→ Join the thousands of people who already signed the petition asking the senators to vote for the law project L303/2015 regarding the establishing of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism. Read the English version of the petition here and sign it here: http://facem.de-clic.ro/fara-lagare.
→ Sign a post card from the “death camp” with a message for the senators. We’ll make sure they will find out you too want that persons with mental disabilities to be treated with dignity! (for signing post cards, contact catalin.cumpanasu [at] crj.ro.
→ Stay connected with the progress of the campaign on:www.fb.com/LagareleDeLangaTine
“Death Camps Next to You” is a project initiated by the Centre for Legal Resources and financed through the EEA Grants 2009 – 2014, through the NGO Fund in Romania. For more details go to www.fondong.fdsc.ro.