MDAC to Hungary: Social exclusion is no game

13 August 2012, Budapest (Hungary). Today the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) sent a report to Europe’s top social rights body, encouraging it to find Hungary in breach of its obligations under the European Social Charter.

Despite having a 30-year strategy to shut institutions and move people with disabilities into the community, the Hungarian government will build new 50-bed institutions – which it euphemistically calls “living centres” – instead of integrating and supporting people into the community. The international community will be particularly concerned that the European Commission is using EU money to construct such institutions. Put simply, the EU is using European taxpayers’ money to fund human rights violations.


“The Hungarian government deserves a gold medal in the social exclusion Olympics,” said Oliver Lewis, MDAC Executive Director, “but segregating people from their community is hardly a game. It is a human rights violation to deny someone their autonomy, limit their freedom and control their every decision. Hungary must immediately reverse its plan to build new institutions, and focus on investing in community-based services."


MDAC’s “Parallel report to the European Committee of Social Rights on Article 15(3) of the Revised European Social Charter with regard to Hungary” urges the Committee to find Hungary in breach of the European Social Charter, which obliges governments to pursue full social integration and participation of people with disabilities in the life of the community.


“Not only has Hungary taken little progress to shut institutions, but it has failed to submit its governmental report to the Committee. It’s like wanting to take part in the Olympics without sending any athletes”, said Oliver Lewis.  


MDAC has created six indicators to assist the Committee in its mandate to comment on governmental progress towards implementing the right to live in the community. The indicators are based on the Social Charter as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and draw from reports issued this year by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the European Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

In Hungary, MDAC is further stepping up its focus on the right to live in the community. The organisation:

- has sent a copy of its report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Human Resources, urging the government to send a State report to the European Committee on Social Rights. It has extended an invitation for government officials to discuss the analysis with MDAC and provide evidence to refute MDAC’s critique.

- has called on the European Commission to establish a moratorium on the funding, a request which has been refused. It is taking legal advice on how to bring a legal action against the European Commission.

- will, in September, send a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, prior to that Committee’s examination of Hungary’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been in force in Hungary since May 2008.

- has recently started a two-year project on taking cases to secure the right to live in the community. The project is funded by the Disability Rights Initiative of the Open Society Foundations.

MDAC needs further support to fight social exclusion in Hungary and elsewhere. Your donation is crucial. With your help, MDAC will provide the best impact for people with disabilities, where your money is needed the most and where your investment will work the hardest. The change which you can help create is long-lasting and will ultimately prevent many more people being subject to abuses in the future. Please help us today by clicking here.

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