People with disabilities locked up against their will – Ill treatment, inhumane and degrading conditions.

Wednesday 7 September 2022. Representatives of the Centre for Legal Resources are waiting outside the gate of the social care home for adults with disabilities “Armonia”, in Ilfov county, Afumați commune. It is another of the unannounced monitoring visits that the CLR has been making for 20 years in such social care homes, the first in this place. A second one followed in November of the same year.
During these monitoring visits, the CLR experts observed multiple major human rights violations:

  • Arbitrary deprivation of liberty and abduction. At least one person complains of being tied up;
  • Lack of adequate and community-based treatment provided to persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities;
  • Lack of access to justice – at least two people complained, in writing, without receiving a response.
  • Inadequate living conditions, lack of hygiene, bedbugs and lack of access to personal care products.

The monitoring report of the CRJ can be read here.

In addition to all this, there is also a potential conflict of interest: both the social worker and the psychologist employed in the “Armonia” social care home were also employees of DGASPC Ilfov. Paradoxically, the residents who would have wanted to ask for help should in fact have addressed the same people, but in their role as representatives of the state institution responsible for resolving complaints and monitoring the services provided to residents.
All these violations of the rights of people with disabilities that the CLR identified during monitoring visits to the social care home for adults with disabilities “Armonia”, in Ilfov county, are brought to public attention, where they belong, with the support of journalists Ovidiu Vanghele – Investigative Media Center and Bianca Albu – Buletin de București, in a new investigative material.

Residents in the front yard. Visibly distressed, in tracksuits and flipflops. The yard is very dark and untidy, cemented and unclean.
Residents in the front yard

On the occasion of the second visit to the “Armonia” social care home, in November 2022, the representatives of the CLR asked the management of the DGASPC Ilfov for support but, unfortunately, they did not receive any answer. The only person who showed up at “Armonia”, on behalf of the state authority, was a legal advisor, the head of the Service for Adults with Disabilities within DGASPC Ilfov. His cynical response to all that was seen was this: “there’s nothing serious here, for these people it’s better at “Armonia” than sleeping on the street.”
Many of the beneficiaries of the “Armonia” social care home talk about the fact that they want to move to another social care home, but they are not allowed or that they were brought there without being asked or having any chance to comment on this decision.
Romania is obliged, through ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to provide community-based housing and care services for people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.