NEWS: Kosovan People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for First Time

Posted on 7 February 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Democratic Participation, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI).

People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for the First Time in Kosovo
Washington, DC – February 6, 2008

In an effort to build upon the self-advocacy movement of persons with disabilities in Kosovo, Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) recently assisted “Ne Per Ne” peer support group members in fully understanding and participating in Kosovo’s historic winter elections to choose national and municipal assembly members and mayors. “Ne Per Ne,” which means “We for Ourselves,” is Eastern Europe’s largest peer support group for persons with intellectual disabilities, started by MDRI.

In preparation for Kosovo’s November elections, the peer support groups invited and welcomed representatives of the major political parties to discuss the importance of the elections, the work of the parties, and the issues that would affect them. Participants were able to ask questions of the candidates such as “what are you going to do regarding jobs for people with disabilities?”

For the first time in their lives, approximately 90% of the peer support group members voted in Kosovo’s elections.

My vote made a difference. I thought it wouldn’t count, but it obviously counted; I’m very happy MDRI helped me realize that.” – Avni (Kacaniku Peer Support Group)

I thought I couldn’t vote because I don’t know how to read; I didn’t know I could bring people with me who could help me.” – Laura (Peja Peer Support Group)

I would get so upset at my peers during the peer support group meetings when they would say that they don’t know how to go to the voting place; it’s very easy, think ahead and plan transportation before hand. I asked my father to take me and he was happy to do that. They could ask someone too – ‘I don’t know how’ is not a valid excuse.” – Gazi (Kamenica Peer Support Group)

Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) is an initiative of Mental Disability Rights International as a result of our 2002 report, “Not on the Agenda: Human Rights of People with Mental Disabilities in Kosovo.” To find out more about the work in Kosovo or to read more about MDRI, please visit our website.

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. For more information, visit their website at

This press release was first distributed on the MDRI newsletter. You can receive this newsletter for free via email; sign up at

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NEWS: Human Rights Violations of Argentines with Psychosocial, Mental Disabilities

Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2007— Argentina is among countries with the most psychiatrists per capita in the world—yet people detained in the country’s public psychiatric institutions are subject to serious human rights violations. Ruined Lives, an investigative report released today by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)and the Argentine human rights organization Center for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), finds that 25,000 people are locked away in Argentina’s institutions, segregated from society, many for a lifetime and with no possibility of ever getting out.

Ruined Lives exposes widespread abuse and neglect in these institutions, including people burning to death in isolation cells, complete sensory deprivation in long-term isolation, forced sterilization and sexual and physical abuse. In one psychiatric penal ward in Buenos Aires, men were locked naked in tiny, barren isolation cells with no light or ventilation for months at a time. At another institution, four people died while locked in isolation cells. Toilets overflowed with excrement and floors were flooded with urine.

Investigators found a 16 year-old boy in a crib, his arms and legs tied to his body with strips of cloth, completely immobilized. Staff said he had been tied up since being admitted to the institution more than a year before.

“Argentina’s mental health system detains people on a massive scale without any legal protections,” said Eric Rosenthal, MDRI’s ExecutiveDirector. “The inhumane and degrading treatment we observed is banned by international human rights treaties and should not be tolerated in any society.”

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities world wide. For more information, visit

CELS is an Argentine organization devoted to fostering and protecting human rights and strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law. For more information, visit

The report and photographs can be downloaded from the MDRI web site in either English or Spanish.

1156 15th St NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 296-0800, Fax: (202) 728-3053

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI</a).

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