Study on Human Rights of Persons with Mental or Intellectual Disabilities in the Republic of Moldova
study ohchr.JPG
31 July 2015

The United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) today launched an assessment report on the human rights of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities in the Republic of Moldova. The report is the result of more than three years of research work by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), jointly with the Budapest-based Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC).

The report focusses on three rights set out in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in particular:   the right to inclusive education; the right to legal capacity; and the right to independent living in the community.   Moldova ratified the CRPD treaty in 2010.

On the occasion of publication of the report, UN Human Rights Adviser Claude Cahn (OHCHR) said, “This report reflects the combined experience and knowledge of a broad range of Government, civil society and international actors working on strengthening real rights in practice by these stigmatized and marginalized groups. The aim of this report is to provide human rights assessment of certain key areas of policy, law and practice in the Republic of Moldova, with a view to guiding reforms, as well as galvanizing improvement of the treatment of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities.”

Moldova has made significant strides to further advancing the rights of children and adults with disabilities in the country, but many continue to be denied the support they need to be fully included in Moldovan society. The education system has become significantly more inclusive and community-based services have been developed, but these processes are far from complete. Serious concerns remain in relation to law, policy and practices allowing people to be deprived of their legal capacity, subjected to forced interventions, and/or placed in institutions.   Many children with disabilities continue to be subjected to violations of their right to inclusive education.

Each chapter of the report on human rights of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities concludes with recommendations aimed at improving law, policy and practices in relation to persons with mental or intellectual impairments.

“Until very recently denial of legal capacity has been used to deny the right to vote to persons with disabilities. But our joint advocacy has resulted in the adoption of groundbreaking legal modifications recognizing equal voting rights for all persons with disabilities. In June, I participated in my first elections ever. I felt the responsibility of giving my vote for a country more inclusive and more just towards persons with disabilities.” – stated Alexei Borisov, a person with mental impairments.

On the occasion of publication of the report, MDAC Executive Director Oliver Lewis said, “We hope that the report will be used by the Government civil society actors and others to continue to drive the reforms which people with mental health issues and people with intellectual disabilities in Moldova deserve.”

Key Findings and Data:

  • Despite progress in recent years, circa 1,716 children with mental or intellectual impairments remain in segregated educational institutions and not all of them are receiving support they need to access inclusive schooling.
  • In Moldova, people with mental or intellectual impairments, continue to be deprived of their legal capacity. Estimated 3000-4000 persons have been deprived of legal capacity and therefore lack even minimal control over their own lives.  They cannot marry, divorce, conclude a work contract, refuse medication or undertake a range of other basic socio-legal acts.       Moldovan legislation vests wide decision-making powers in their guardians, and many guardians choose to place people with disabilities in closed institutions against their will, use their disability allowances and control the assets of the person under their guardianship.


  • Almost 2,500 children and adults with mental disabilities in Moldova are required to live in segregated institutions which are cut off from their community. Life in such institutions means denial of basic liberties and dignities for residents: strong smells of faces, urine, sweat and dust are common.   Persons in institutions generally can only leave the premises with prior authorization. Violence and abuse perpetrated by staff and other residents, including a number of cases of rape and forced abortion, are regularly reported and, as a rule, not adequately sanctioned.  

The full text of the report is available at:

For details or other relevant information, please contact: Alina Grigoras, United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) Human Rights Officer: +373 696 67 787; e-mail:; Xenia Siminciuc, United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) National Consultant on Diversity Outreach: +373 684 88 663; e-mail:

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