Russian Human Rights Council supports NGOs on reform of neuropsychiatric institutions
Human Rights Council supports NGO recommendations on the reform of neuropsychiatric institutions
The Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights supported NGO recommendations relating to quality of life and medical help in neuropsychiatric institutions (PNIs).
The main problem facing these organisations is the fact that they are closed institutions. As evidenced by the results of a survey conducted at the instruction of Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, the people living in them have no one looking out for them; consequently, their rights are grossly violated. Often these violations relate to sanitation and hygiene, the absence of an accessible environment, personal space, inviolable personal rights and the right to work.
According to Elizaveta Oleskina, the leader of the trust Enjoying Old Age, reform of PNIs is impossible without the creation of a system for the long-term retirement of the elderly.
“PNIs cannot be reformed, and will only continue, because one person can come from an orphanage with an intellectual disability, another from a family in which the parents are ill or have died, a third with a chronic psychiatric illness and a fourth living with dementia. PNIs are just the tip of the iceberg and below, underneath this tip, there are so many issues. People living with cognitive impairments, whether they are young or old, with dementia or intellectual disabilities, need a unified system of support”, noted Oleskina in an interview with Kommersant.
The Human Rights Council recommends that the government build small apartment complexes, rather than these institutions with hundreds of residents, passes legislation on joint guardianship and introduces the concept of assisted living, assisted work and assisted socialising to lawmakers.
These recommendations, intended to improve the position of those living in PNIs, were taken to the Human Rights Council at the end of July to follow up on a special meeting held on June 24th. In her speech, Niuta Federmesser, director of the Centre for Palliative Care, founder of the hospice trust Vera, member of the Presidential Council for Social Guardianship, founder and member of the board of the Association of Hospice Professionals, called the system of PNIs and orphanages comparable to a Gulag for the elderly and disabled. “To oppose reform of social institutions is akin to supporting the genocide of one’s own people”, said Federmesser.
Ekaterina Shulman, a political scientist, expert in lawmaking and member of the Human Rights Council, noted that the legislation on joint guardianship will allow us to overcome monopolisation, lack of accountability and opacity.
The full text of the recommendation can be read on the Human Rights Council Website.