Disabled people should be able to bring up their own children
An attempt has been made to remove a blind couple’s newly born daughter in Krasnogorsk because the child’s parents are allegedly unable to look after her. Diana Gurtskaya, Chair of the Federation Public Chamber Commission for the Protection of Family, Motherhood and Childhood, has asked Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, to intervene in the case.
According to the Miloserdya.ru website in August this year, staff at the Krasnogorsk City Hospital No.3 maternity ward tried to take a new born baby away from its parents when being discharged, telling relatives that it would be impossible for the couple to bring up the child given their disability. Lawyers acting on behalf of the hospital say that guardianship authorities have every right to remove the baby from its family. Diana Gurtskaya, a member of the Public Chamber, is standing up for the young family’s rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by the Russian Federation, stipulates that under no circumstances shall a child be separated from its parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or one or both of its parents (Article 23, Paragraph 4). In our country, many blind parents raise their children just as able-bodied Russians do, said Gurtskaya in her appeal to the Prosecutor General.
According to the Public Chamber Press Office, the intention is to refer the case to the guardianship authorities even though both parents have permanent work and a mortgage on their home. Natalia Prisetskaya, President of the Society for Disabled Persons and Family Members’ Support, Katyusha, has said that it is totally unacceptable for the authorities to interfere in people’s private lives in this way.
Prisetskaya told the Agency for Social Information that while she understood the concerns of doctors this could not be used as an excuse for interfering in people’s lives. This is a clear case of discrimination on grounds of disability. “There are married couples who are members of the All-Russian Society for the Blind who are involved in community service work where their disability is not an issue, so what is so different in this case?”, she said when speaking to the Agency for Social Information.
Gurtskaya added that a review is currently being undertaken of protection of children’s rights legislation.
“We will definitely be proposing changes to the Federation Family Code in order to avoid such situations arising in future. I am asking you to conduct a review into the actions of staff from the Krasnogorsk medical institution and guardianship authorities”, said Gurtskaya in her appeal to the Prosecutor General.