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20 February 2012, Budapest. Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, has today issued a comment and an issue paper on the right to legal capacity. Hammarberg calls for reform of guardianship systems which he says are “out-dated and in urgent need of reform” in the “bulk” of European countries.


MDAC held a three-day workshop on litigating the rights of persons with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities in Kampala, Uganda from 2-4 February.  The need to build capacity of lawyers on the rights of people with psycho-social disabilities and people with intellectual disabilities has always been highlighted in MDAC’s discussions with organisations of persons with disabilities and some lawyers in African countries.

17 January 2012, Budapest and Sofia. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) today delivered a landmark victory for the rights of persons with psycho-social disabilities and intellectual disabilities in the case of Stanev v. Bulgaria. The Mental Disability Advocacy Center and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee represented Mr. Stanev in his attempts to bring domestic proceedings and at the ECtHR.

In a victory for the rights of persons deprived of legal capacity and placed in institutions by their guardians, the Czech Ombudsman issued an opinion in a case brought by MDAC and its partner organisation in the Czech Republic stating that this practice violates human rights. 

On 19 December 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This will enable children to make a legal complaint to the UN if their CRC rights have been violated and if they have taken their complaint through domestic legal procedures. 

On 16 - 17 December 2011, MDAC participated at the “Regional Consultation for Europe on Prevention of Torture and Protection of Victims of Torture – Especially Persons Deprived of their Liberty” held at the UN in Geneva. The consultation aimed to identify concrete steps and forms of cooperation between international, regional, and national actors in the field.

19 December 2011. On Saturday the Venice Commission (an influential group of constitutional law experts) amended one of its key documents. In doing so it reversed an anomaly which allowed countries to exclude people with “genuine mental disabilities” from the ballot box.


13 -14 December 2011, the Mental Disability Advocacy Center is in the Lithuanian capital this week, holding two trainings for local NGOs including disabled people’s organisations and Ombudsman officials.  

On 29-30 November MDAC was on mission in Ireland. Its Executive Director met with the Justice Committee of the Dáil Éireann, and met with a Minister of State and civil servants at the Ministry of Justice. The following day MDAC participated in a high-level seminar on legal capacity law reform organised by Amnesty International Ireland. Read more...


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