Spotlight on Lithuania

21 August 2012, Budapest. Today MDAC sent a letter to the Lithuanian Prime Minister asking him to uphold the rights of people with disabilities.

Using information submitted by MDAC and our partners the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and Lithuanian Forum for the Disabled, the UN Human Rights Committee recommend to the Lithuanian authorities to take action on forced abortions and sterilisations on women with disabilities. The Committee also criticised Lithuanian law for not providing legal representation in cases where someone might be placed under guardianship. In March this year, the European Court of Human Rights found that these procedural safeguards were lacking. Lithuania has an antiquated guardianship system which is not fit for purpose and which violates – rather than protects – human rights.

Using the momentum created by these international human rights bodies, MDAC will in September organise a national conference in Vilnius focusing on how to go about changing the guardianship system to improve the rights and lives of people with disabilities. This builds on work carried out in 2011, when MDAC and the Global Initiative on Psychiatry co-organised two training events for NGOs and the Ombudsman office on how to engage with the UN human rights bodies, and on alternatives to guardianship.

MDAC’s work on legal capacity law reform in Lithuania has been funded by a grant from Zennström Philanthropies. For more information, contact

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