Tag Archives: Moldova

Standard label?

How could the members of the world’s largest minority be known in a variety of names?

The Philippines has officially referred to them as “disabled persons” last July 22, 1991. Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 7277 has defined them as “those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Fifteen years later, though, the law that was otherwise entitled as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was amended and Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 9442 renamed every disabled person in the country as a “person with disability.” The title of Republic Act No. 7277 was changed to the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” and all references to “disabled persons” to “persons with disability”.

This must be the reason why Americans with a disability are labelled as “individuals with a disability”; Canadians and Vietnamese with a disability as “people with disabilities”; and Indians with a disability as “persons with disabilities.”

Moldovans with a disability are “invalid,” though—a portrayal that The Rhythmic Arts Project has claimed to “elicit unwanted sympathy, or worse, pity toward individuals with disabilities.” TRAP has further advised to use the terms person with a disability; people with disabilities; has a disability; or have disabilities instead.

If someone is using a wheelchair to move around, describe her as a “wheelchair user.” What some may classify as a “birth defect” or “affliction” is actually a “congenital disability” or “birth anomaly.”

There’s no need to describe someone as “a victim of [the physical condition]” when you can just say “has a [the physical condition]”. It could also be “has had [the physical condition]”; “experienced [the physical condition]”; or “has a disability as a result of [the physical condition].”

A “person with Down Syndrome” is different from a “Down’s person” or “Mongoloid” (the last two terms are simply derogatory). A “person who has epilepsy/people with seizure disorders or epileptic episodes” is also not the same as an “epileptic.”

Those that some in the society claim “the mentally ill,” “crazy,” “psycho,” or “mental case” should just be termed “people who have mental illness” or “person with a mental or emotional disorder.” Those it call “blind-hearing impaired,” “deaf-mute,” or “deaf and dumb” should be identified as “people who are blind,” “visually impaired,” “person who is hard of hearing,” “person who is deaf,” or “the Deaf.” Deafness is a cultural phenomenon and should be capitalized in this particular instance.

“The use of outdated language and words to describe people with disabilities (PWDs) contributes greatly to perpetuating old stereotypes.” ~ The Rhythmic Arts Project

Video taken from the website of the Disability Horizons

Help in Moldova

Due to economic and social crises, the mental health of the people in the Republic of Moldova has been negatively influenced.

Mental health disorders have risen to 576 cases for every 100,000 Moldovans in 2009 from 500 cases for every 100,000 Moldovans in 2005. Among of the organizations in the country that supports and cares for the residents with these are the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC), European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), and Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI).


MDAC became involved in Moldova just last December 2010. That very same month, it came up with a capacity-building event to monitor the methodology of mental health and social care institutions in Moldova. MDAC also held then an advocacy event for government representatives and directors of mental health institutions on legal capacity law reform.

The following year, the MDAC already came up with recommendations to improve the discrimination bill.

But it did not stop there. The MDAC also co-organized a four-day training session in March 2012 on how to prevent torture and ill-treatment against PWDs. The rights of detainees in psychiatric and social care institutions were checked, a psychiatric hospital inspected, and preparation of monitoring reports taught.

PWDs themselves were trained to be vigilant against torture during the same month the following year. They were asked to cooperate with the Moldova’s National Preventive Mechanism established under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

The MDAC’s primary advocacy is to protect women with disabilities in Moldova. It has studied how they are treated in psychiatric and social care institutions in the country, particularly the use of forced psychiatric treatment, overcrowding, the use of restraints and seclusion techniques to control detainees, and a worrying lack of oversight in these places.

The MDAC has also reported evidence of violations based on gender including the use of forced abortions, a high prevalence of sexual violence and degrading conditions including a lack of toilet paper, tampons and pads for female residents. It has submitted this “shadow report” to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in September 2013, and has called on the Moldovan government to reform the “discriminatory guardianship system” the very next month.


Representing over 10,000 social service provider organizations across Europe is the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD).

It has six members in Moldova: the Association for Charity and Social Assistance (ACASA), which involves 34 NGOs and 29 individuals; the Alliance of Organisations working with the disabled people (AOPD), which enjoins 13 civil society organisations (CSOs); the Association ‘Curcubeul Copilarie’, which supports children with special educational needs; the Day Care Centre “Speranta”; the Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association (KHSIMA); the Asociatia Motivatie Moldova; and the Verbina.

DRPI Moldova

In November 2012, the Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) trained 33 individuals in Moldova.

Since then, DRPI Moldova has come up with surveys and reports that concerns PWDs in the country. These are the “Monitoring of rights of persons with disabilities in Republic of Moldova,” “Analysis of individual experience of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova,” “Monitoring of the legislation, policies and programs: the observance of rights of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova,” and “Monitoring of mass media and society’s attitude towards persons with disabilities.”

Current situation

There are more than 170,000 persons certified as “invalid” in Moldova, the current term in Moldovan law for PWDs. The latter face discrimination, social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, life in segregated institutions, low quality education, and inaccessibility to the general system of social protection even in their own country.

To combat these, the Moldovan Parliament has committed to implement the right of PWDs to (1) live in the community, and (2) legal capacity. It has planned to introduce new equality instruments “to bring Moldovan laws in line with regional and international human rights standards.” This could be seen within the draft law on “Preventing and Combating Discrimination.”

“People with disabilities need as far as possible to be integrated, not segregated, and strenuous efforts need to be made to help people lead an active life in the community rather than be locked away in institutions.” ~ Navi Pillay

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Яр Бест


Judging from how persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Moldova can still study, defend themselves, and live independently, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) reported that the said country ’has made significant strides to further advancing the rights of children and adults with disabilities in the country’. Its education system has become more inclusive and community-based services have been developed.

Many, however, continue to be denied the support they need to be fully included in the Moldovan society. Many processes regarding the educational system and community-based programs are far from complete, too. In particular are the 1,716 children with mental or intellectual impairments that remain in segregated educational institutions. Not all of them are receiving support they need to access inclusive schooling.

About 3,000 to 4,000 Moldovans are ‘stripped of the right to decide for themselves, and are under the control of guardians’. Many were reported to be leaving PWDs in closed institutions against their will, using the disability allowances of the latter, controlling their assets, and prohibiting them from basic socio-legal acts.

The PWD Forum could only hope that the finding of Dr. Raman Sharma from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute will lessen cases of intellectual disability. Together with some researchers from Europe, he has discovered the “novel gene,” which when mutated, causes intellectual disability in 1 in 50 individuals.

“We have identified four mutations in the THOC2 gene in four families. The defected gene is found in males who have an intellectual disability – females in the families are carriers of the gene mutation but are not affected by the condition. Protein coded by the THOC2 gene is part of a large protein complex that is fundamental for all living human cells and essential for normal development and function,” Dr. Sharma, lead author of the paper, was quoted in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

To date, Dr. Sharma is poised to know more about familial gene mutations.

“But that’s just the first step. Before we can develop a treatment for a condition, we first need to understand what is going on in the body and discover how a specific defected gene causes a particular disease.”

“Advanced genetic technologies have accelerated the discovery of genes responsible for diseases like epilepsy, autism, intellectual disability and other neurological disorders. But the number of genetic conditions in which we have functional understanding of the mutated genes can be counted on two hands.”

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Biology Videos

Shaun Webster: the believer

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are neither scroungers nor superheroes, a 43-year-old man in Rotherham, South Yorkshire maintains.

His name is Shaun Webster, the international project worker of Change, a human rights organization led by PWDs. He has visited the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Moldova to train health- and social care professionals on ‘de-institutionalisation’, community living, and community-based care.

With a learning disability himself, Webster has called for the closure of long-stay institutions for young people with learning disabilities through Lumos, a children’s charity founded by JK Rowling.

“They’re doing it faster in Europe, building small group homes and getting people into the community, here they’re dragging their feet, still putting money into care homes. Other countries are less scared, ready to work with people with learning disabilities,” Webster was quoted in a report.

Webster also believes that PWDs, which number about to 1.4 in the United Kingdom, should be more visible in communities ‘to challenge the status quo’. Politicians must be engaged, and a political party of PWDs ‘might be an idea to get our voice across to government because we’re the experts in real life.’

To date, Webster would champion ‘the fact that people with learning disabilities can, should, and do have the same “real life” as everyone else, with a job, home and family life’. He had three children with his childhood sweetheart before they separated. He is now a grandfather of two toddlers and lives in a community-based supported housing.

“It’s starting,” he says, “but we need to make it louder … people want to have proper jobs, to live in the community and not be vulnerable or patronised.” ~ Shaun Webster

Video posted with permission from lumoscharity


It’s simple. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Moldova just have to use a perforated sheet of thin plastic and—voila!—their votes will be casted.

With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Moldova has introduced the “sleeve envelope.” It was piloted and tested in a polling station in Chisinau during the 2010 elections and could let those with visual impairments to vote their chosen political party by counting the openings in the sleeve and then marking on the specially designated space.

The UNDP has sponsored 7,000 voting booths and 10,000 ballot boxes to ensure that the upcoming elections would be more inclusive and up-to-date. Even PWDs in wheelchairs would be able to cast their vote in a special booth.

The UNDP was able to do this through its Moldova Democracy Programme funded by the governments of Sweden and Norway (the electoral equipment amounted to $436,000 all in all!). The programme aims to enhance the capacity of the Parliament and the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) in carrying out its main functions such as in bringing gender and human rights aspects into the formal political process.

As of this writing, the programme has helped compile gender-disaggregated data like number of women and men voters, improve access to elections for persons with disabilities, turn CEC an ISO-certified elections management body, and create a valid voter register.

“I was very happy and proud that as a citizen, I can now really vote secretly, that I can express my opinion without the help of any another person, even the most trusted one.” ~ Nicolae Ciobanu

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the UN Moldova