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Dunja Mijatović : Albania should step up protection of children and inclusion of persons with disabilities

New human rightscommissioner Dunja Mijatović has today urged Albania to improve children’s rights and those of people with impairments.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, returned recently from  a five-day visit to the country which focused on children’s rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, and access to free legal aid.

“I am pleased that there is a large consensus of all stakeholders that violence against children is unacceptable,” she said. “However, continuous awareness raising is needed to change societal attitudes that violence against children, as a way of disciplining them, is acceptable.

“Persons with disabilities need to fully enjoy their rights to live independently and be included in the community. The authorities should develop and implement a deinstitutionalisation road map and provide community-based services, rather than continuing to resort to the use of residential institutions.

“However, this process needs to be carefully planned, in order to avoid that any person with disabilities is left without the necessary supports for independent living upon their departure from an institution.

“The authorities should also amend legislation in order to stop depriving persons with disabilities of their legal capacity, starting with the immediate abolition of plenary guardianship so as to ensure that they enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.”

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