Inclusion Europe’s director Milan Šveřepa comments on a decision by the European Committee of Social Rights.
The European Committee of Social Rights issued its decision on a complaint of the European Roma Rights Centre and Mental Disability Advocacy Centre against Czechia.
The complaint alleged that Czechia does not comply with its obligation to refrain from institutionalising children under the age of 3.
The Committee concluded:
- “unanimously, that there is a violation of Article 17 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that the application of the legal framework of institutional care and operation of children centres as provided for by the Health Care Act does not ensure appropriate protection and care for children under the age of 3.
- unanimously, that there is a violation of Article 17 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that adequate measures have not been taken to provide children under the age of 3 with services in family-based and community-based family-type settings and to progressively de-institutionalise the existing system of early childhood care.
- unanimously, that there is a violation of Article 17 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that necessary measures have not been taken to ensure the right to appropriate protection and appropriate care services of Roma children and children with disabilities under the age of 3.”
The Committee’s decision confirms the infamous situation in Czechia: Instead of providing support to families, the country continues to segregate children in “care” institutions, which harms their rights and development.
It is very important the Committee specifically mentions Roma children and children with disabilities. They are those most impacted by this unacceptable practice.
But also, children with disabilities are the least likely to benefit from any deinstitutionalisation measures. They remain being segregated in institutions even after countries decide to end this practice for other children.
For children with disabilities, it is also crucial the relevant authorities take into account they do not stay children forever. And to stop the risk of institutionalisation for adults.
Persons with intellectual disabilities and people with complex support needs are most likely to still live in institutional settings.
Czechia still segregates hundreds of children and thousands of adults in so-called residential care institutions. The country has a rich set of resources that would enable it to take the necessary steps and end that practice.
There are quite a lot of quality community-based services and there are experts with the relevant experience and know-how.
What exactly is stopping the country – and all the others in Europe – from finally taking the right action?