People with Disabilities in Croatia Still Discriminated Against

By 20 February 2018

ZAGREB, February 20, 2018 - Croatia continues to be a country where thousands of people with disabilities are segregated and live in conditions that are beneath human dignity, while the national policy of deinstitutionalisation has been one step forward, two steps back despite EU funding that has been secured for that purpose, the federation of nongovernmental organisations Platforma 112 said on Tuesday, on the occasion of World Day of Social Justice.

"There are no efficient mechanisms for controlling the quality of services or management of accommodation services. At the same time, the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy is working on a new law on foster care, under which, contrary to recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an even larger number of adults with disabilities would be put in foster families. That shows disregard for warnings about omissions and suspicions about serious violations of the human rights of people receiving foster care," Platforma 112 said.

"Given the numerous controversies surrounding the new Family Bill, what has gone unnoticed is the fact that the new bill reintroduces the practice of entirely stripping a person with disabilities of legal competence," Platforma 112 said, noting that exactly those segments of the previous Family Act had been commended by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Despite progress over the past few years, notably with regard to expanding the role of personal assistants and progress in terms of transforming social care homes to providers of services supporting community living, the process of deinstitutionalisation has practically come to a halt, as evidenced by a stagnating number of beneficiaries of community services and a low rate of absorption of money from the European Social Fund for development of services supporting community living for persons with disabilities.