NGOs as guardians of people with mental disorders?
NGOs in agreement with senator Konstantin Dobrynin’s initiative to include them in the list of eligible guardians of people with mental disorders
Mr Dobrynin, the chair of the committee of the Council of the Federation that deals with constitutional legislation, legal and judicial issues and the development of civil society, has proposed legislation aimed at improving the rights and freedoms available to those suffering from mental disorders.
He considers that the state should ensure the welfare of those with disabilities, in particular people with mental disorders whether living in an institution or at home. It was essential that a guardian of such a person should be independent of institutions whether medical or social and should represent their ward alone; hence the proposal that the legislation should be amended to distribute guardianship functions amongst a number of persons so as to provide a flexible and individual approach that avoids possible abuse of guardianship powers. NGOs that were empowered by their founding charter to provide social, medical, educational, and rehabilitation services would be eligible to fulfil such a function.
The bill requires local supervision of the way in which organisations perform their functions and of their staffing. Including NGOs would help with the development of parental provision for their children in the future and ensure that an external guardian was available for those living in an institution.
The council’s initiative has received the support of 44 NGOs from 25 regions. Letters of support have kept on arriving, according to Elena Klochko, vice-chair of the public chamber’s co-ordinating council for people with disabilities. She said that there was a huge amount of support amongst NGOs for the bill. The government of the Russian Federation was due to hold a meeting, which would be chaired by the deputy prime minister, Olga Golodets to consider it in the near future.
The Association of Organisations from the Archangel oblast dealing with people with disabilities observed that the measure was vital for realising the right to education, employment, psychological well-being and human rights, particularly the rights of the child. On its website it claimed that the guardian at the Novodvinsky residential establishment for children with learning difficulties, namely the administration there, was ignoring the right of the children to be educated in accordance with the appropriate programmes. Of the 240 residents only 20% had the opportunity to receive an education and future prospects.
Specialists said that the guardian/ward relationship exerted a direct influence over the latter’s development.