Romania asked to enforce Strasbourg Court’s judgments regarding rights of persons with intellectual disabilities or mental health conditions

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The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published today two communications to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights relating to the protection of the rights of people with intellectual disabilities or mental health conditions in Romania.

Regarding the cases Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania and N. (No. 2) v. Romania, concerning deficiencies in the legal protection system for adults with intellectual disabilities or mental health conditions and their access to justice, the Commissioner underlines the need for further steps to replace guardianship with supported decision making and to ensure that vulnerable persons, notably those in institutions, can benefit from independent and effective support. She also stresses the importance of enabling close monitoring of institutions, including by NGOs; establishing accessible complaints mechanisms; ensuring adequate reporting and investigation of cases of abuse and death; and increasing capacity building with the justice system.

With respect to the case of Parascineti v. Romania, the Cristian Teodorescu group and the N. v. Romania group, concerning human rights violations in the mental health context, the Commissioner highlights the imperative of a human rights approach to mental health care, involving a fundamental shift from coercion and institutionalisation to community-based services respectful of persons’ rights and dignity. There is a need to repeal legislation allowing for the discriminatory detention of persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities and to ensure the provision of health care, including psychiatric care, on the basis of free and informed consent.

“The authorities should initiate measures to progressively develop and ensure access to quality, human rights compliant mental health care services across the country”, writes the Commissioner, pointing out, in addition, the need to address the situation of the large number of persons who continue to live in psychiatric establishments because of the lack of services in the community.

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