MDAC welcomes report of UN poverty expert highlighting plight of people with disabilities in Moldova

MDAC welcomes the statement by Ms Magdalena Sepúlveda, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, who completed her visit to Moldova last week, calling for the government to adopt urgent measures to attain social inclusion for people with disabilities.

Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (

During her first fact-finding mission in Moldova last week, Ms Sepúlveda found that the government’s efforts to boost economic growth had failed to adequately address the needs of some of the most marginalised people in the country. She was particularly critical towards the government regarding its lack of strong political will to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Moldova ratified in 2010.

“I am extremely troubled by the practice of exclusion from society of persons with disabilities, in particular with mental disabilities without any serious effort to ensure their integration,” said Ms Sepúlveda in here report. She called for a number of reform measures aimed at integrating people with disabilities fully into the life of the community, including reform of the guardianship system and adoption of a comprehensive adult deinstitutionalisation plan. Ms Sepúlveda highlighted the appalling conditions people with disabilities face locked away from society in large psychiatric and social care institutions, conditionss which MDAC has witnessed first-hand.

Sadly, around 2,200 people with disabilities still have to live in these segregated institutions today, recognised worlwide as an outdated model of 'care'. There, the peope are exposed to sexual violence, medication without consent, a denial of privacy and arbitrary use of restraints and seclusion. MDAC has also documented they way that punishment is used to deal with people who complain. MDAC led monitoring visits to psychiatric and social care institutions throughout the country in 2010 and again in 2012, documenting systemic human rights violations.

Ms Sepúlveda is correct to underscore the harsh reality for women with disabilities who “face additional exclusion and discrimination that prevent them from lifting themselves out of poverty”, a theme that was also addressed by the World Health Organisation in their World Report on Disability (2011). This is an important finding, which MDAC hopes will be reiterated by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) which will examine women’s rights in Moldova next month.

Specific concerns raised in MDAC’s submission to the CEDAW Committee include overcrowding in institutions, forced abortions, a high prevalence of rape and the use of restraints and seclusion. Since 2010 MDAC has held three training events for staff of the Center for Human Rights, the National Preventive Mechanism, and NGOs on monitoring psychiatric and social care institutions where abuses remain hidden and carried out with impunity. MDAC is also currently working on proposals to challenge multiple forms of discrimination experienced by the most vulnerable people in Moldovan society, including women and girls with disabilities.

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