Council of Europe: Slovakia must get children out of institutions and into inclusive education

This week, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published a report following his visit to Slovakia in June. 

Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe. © Postimees

In his report he praised the Slovakian government for making efforts towards abolishing full guardianship of people with mental disabilities, with a new law expected to be passed by next summer. MDAC has been calling internationally for the demise of the arbitrary guardianship systems, and calling for more humane systems of support for over a decade, and in July this year we pointed this out to the UN with the Slovak Disability Council.

In his report, the Commissioner highlighted how Slovakia still relies on residential institutions for the ‘care’ of people with mental disabilities. He encouraged the government to close and convert such institutions into smaller, residential properties – recommendations that MDAC strongly endorses.

Muižnieks’ report notes the high levels of children with disabilities denied inclusive education. MDAC and partners’ report to the UN pointed out that 20,639 children in Slovakia were educated in segregated settings in 2014. The Slovak government should amend the law to enable parents of disabled children to demand inclusion, and should place an onus on local educational authorities to make all schools inclusive of differences, providing the support which individual children may need.

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