Holistic Report: Monitoring of Rights of Persons With Disabilities in Republic of Moldova
Marcela Dilion, Doctor of Sociology
Translation of the text into English:
DIRA AP SRL
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- Executive Summary
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Observations and Recommendations
Geographic framework and administrative division
Republic of Moldova is located in the Central part of Europe, in the north-eastern Balkans, on an area of 33843,5 km2. The capital of Moldova is Chisinau. On the North, East and South Moldova is surrounded by Ukraine and on the West it is separated from Romania by the Prut River. The northernmost point of the country is Naslavcea village (480 21′ N 270 35′ E), the southernmost – Giurgiulesti (450 28′ N 280 12′ E), also the only locality on the Danube. The westernmost point is Criva village (48 0 16′ N 26 0 30′ E), the easternmost–Palanca village (460 25′ N 300 05’E)1.
Republic of Moldova is divided into 32 districts, 5 municipalities and 2 regions with special statute.
De jure, Transnistria is a part of Moldova, although this region is not actually controlled by the Moldovan government. The so-called Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic declared independence in 1990, which hasn’t been recognized by any state. Tiraspol municipality is the capital of Transnistria, which covers 5 districts (Camenca, Rabnita, a part of Dubasari, Grigoriopol, Slobozia) and two municipalities (Tiraspol and Tighina).2
The demographic situation
On January 1, 2013, the number of stable population in the Republic of Moldova amounted to 3559,5 thousand people, out of which 712,1 thousand people or every fifth person is aged under 183.
The number of newborns in 2012 amounted to 39,4 thousand people or 253 more (0,6%) than the last year. The birth rate amounted to 11,1 live births per 1000 population. The fertility rate in rural areas (11,9%) is maintained on a higher level than the one in urban areas (10,0%). Out of the number of live births, 51,7% have been boys, the masculinity proportion being 107 boys to 100 girls.
The majority of children (99,2%) have been born in sanitary healthcare units. Depending on the weight at birth, we found that 94,8% of the number of live births had over 2500g. The greatest number of children (96,9%) have been born at 35 weeks.
The average age of mothers at the first birth is 23,9 years. As a rule, women from the rural area give birth at a younger age than those from the urban areas, respectively at 23,0 and 25,2 years. The distribution of newborns according to mother’s age group represents their concentration till the age of 30 (75,2% of total number of births).
The extra-marital fertility rate is still high, the weight of newborns outside marriage amounts to 22,4%. 29,0 thousand (73,5%) of the total number of live births come to mothers at their first marriage, every second child is born in the first two years of marriage.
The number of divorces pronounced by court judgments amounted to 10,6 thousand cases or 4,3% less than in 2011. In average, the divorce rate is 3 divorces per 1000 population. The number of minor children affected by marriage dissolution amounted to 910 people.
Statistics regarding disability
The last years has been recorded a continuous increase of the number of persons with disabilities. According to the Annual Social Report of the MLSPF, on 31.12.2012, in the Republic of Moldova the total number of persons with disabilities amounted to 183693 people (14753 of which are children), 3878 people more (including 750 children) than the last year4.
The disability rate is 516 persons with disabilities per 10 thousand population and every sixth person with disabilities falls within the category of people with severe disabilities5. People with disabilities represent 5,2% of the total number of population of the country, while children with disabilities – 2,1% of the total number of children from the Republic of Moldova.
The weight of persons with disabilities in the stable and employed population of the Republic of Moldova is also constantly increasing, amounting in 2012 to 5,2% and respectively 16,0%. Depending on the degree of disability, this category of persons is distributed as follows: 27413 persons (6342 of which are children) have a severe degree of disability, 121454 persons (including 6948 children) have a marked degree of disability and 34826 persons (including 1463 children) have a medium degree of disability The last years a significant increase is observed, especially of people with a severe degree of disability and a marked degree of disability. Hence, from 2008 till 2012 the number of people with disabilities increased with 1676 and respectively 7285 persons.
- Note #4
- Annual Socail Report 2012. Chisinau: MLSPF, 2013.
- Note #5
- The situation of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova in 2012. Informative Note of the National Bureau of Statistics.
The holistic report “Monitoring of rights of persons with disabilities in Republic of Moldova” had been drafted based on surveys and research reports conducted in 2013 within the project implemented by Association “MOTIVATIE” of Moldova in partnership with the “Center for Society Orientation – COD” from Serbia, with the financial support of the European Union, within the Program “European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights”. The holistic report focuses on three fields:
- The analysis of individual experience of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova;
- The monitoring of legislation, policies and programs regarding the observance of rights of persons with disabilities in Republic of Moldova;
- The monitoring of mass-media and society’s attitude towards persons with disabilities.
The survey “Analysis of individual experience of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova” had been conducted by the Association “MOTIVAȚIE” in partnership with the Institute for Marketing and Polls IMAS-INC, Chisinau. During the survey, 149 semi-structured interviews had been conducted. The interviews had been conducted in February 01 – June 30, 2013, by a group of 24 persons with disabilities, hired as interviewers by Association “MOTIVAȚIE” of Moldova. The interviews had been conducted according to the methodology of Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI).
As regards the structure of sample group, around 52% of the total number of 149 interviewed individuals are men and 48% – women, 55% are people from the rural area and 45% – from the urban area. As regards the type of disability, the structure of the sample group is the following: 22,9% with locomotor disabilities, 22,8% with sensory disabilities, 20,1% with somatic disabilities, 15,4% with intellectual disabilities, 12,8% other types of disabilities. The majority of interviewed persons fall within the age group of 26-40 (30,2%); followed by the age groups 18-25 (25,5%), 41-55 (24,2%), 56-70 (12,8%) and over 70 years – 7,4%.
All interviews had been transcribed and codified by the volunteers of Association “MOTIVAȚIE”, according to the DRPI coding scheme.
The survey had been conducted from the perspective of principles reflected in the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: dignity, autonomy, participation, inclusion and accessibility, nondiscrimination and equality, respect for differences.
The monitoring of individual experience of persons with disabilities had been carried out in the following districts of Republic of Moldova: Cahul, Causeni, Comrat, Soroca, Soldanesti, Edinet, Orhei, Nisporeni, Hancesti, Criuleni, Anenii Noi, Chisinau (including the suburbs), Ialoveni, the Transnistrian Region. The TAU had been divided into the following major regions:
- The Southern region: Cahul, Causeni, Comrat;
- The Northern region: Soroca, Soldanesti, Edinet, Orhei;
- The Central region: Nisporeni, Hancesti, Criuleni, Anenii Noi, Chisinau (including the suburbs), Ialoveni, the Transnistrian Region.
The individual experience of interviewees had been analyzed from the perspective of their division into 8 major categories (topics), and namely: human rights, class, ethnicity, gender versus disability, systemic roots of discrimination, the answer to abuse and discrimination, the reasons why certain situations had not been reported and recommendations of interviewees.
The report “Monitoring of the legislation, policies and programs: the observance of rights of persons with disabilities from the Republic of Moldova” is focused on the analysis of legislation, policies and programs regarding the observance of rights of persons with disabilities in the context of ratification by the Republic of Moldova of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities adopted in New York on December 13, 2006.
The report reflects the main problems and gaps from the national legislation and policies regarding the observance of rights of persons with disabilities.
The survey “Monitoring of mass-media and society’s attitude towards persons with disabilities” reflects the way disability topics are tackled. The aim of the survey consists in the monitoring of the Moldovan mass-media for the identification of messages which it sends regarding persons with disabilities and their role in society, methods of approaching disabilities and determining the attitude of society towards persons with disabilities.
Mass-media monitoring had been conducted in November 14, 2012 – February 10, 2014, being monitored 9 mass-media sources and analyzed around 300 materials. The monitored mass-media sources included 4 TV channels (TV 7, Moldova 1, Jurnal TV and Publika TV); 4 newspapers (Adevărul, Timpul, Jurnal de Chişinău and Komsomoliskaia Pravda) and the news portal Unimedia.
The holistic report “Monitoring of persons with disabilities in Republic of Moldova” consists of an introduction, six chapters, conclusions and recommendations.
In the introduction there have been presented some aspects regarding the geographic framework of the country and some statistical data regarding disability. The introduction also comprises the methodology used in the drafting of the holistic Report.
The holistic report is drafted from the perspective of three basic components: 1) the individual experience of persons with disabilities (there are presented fragments of interviews with 149 persons with disabilities); 2) the legal and normative framework on the analyzed subject; 3) subjects reflected by the monitored mass-media (on the basis of the analysis of the 300 monitored mass-media materials, certain observations are made and some fragments of such materials had been presented).
The first chapter of the holistic report „Participation in social life” reflects the attitudes regarding the respect towards human dignity and discrimination against persons with disabilities. In a separate article have been analyzed some aspects regarding the accessibility of persons with disabilities to public spaces, social, economic, cultural infrastructure, etc.
The second chapter “Income safety and support services” present information on the access of persons with disabilities to social benefits, the access to devices and other types of assistance for the needs caused by disabilities. In the same time, there are presented specialized and high-specialized primary social services, designed for persons with disabilities. In this context, reference is made also to some statistical data on the creation and development of social services for persons with disabilities.
The third chapter “Health, habilitation and rehabilitation” expressed the views and opinions of persons with disabilities regarding the access to healthcare services, as well as the analysis of cases of discrimination in medical institutions.
The fourth chapter „Access to education” reflects the attitudes of persons with disabilities regarding accessibility of the education system, policies in the field of inclusive education and new regulations regarding the development of education services.
The fifth chapter “Employment” analyzes the access to labor market of persons with disabilities and their discrimination in the workplace.
The sixth chapter “Access to justice” reflects the legal and normative framework regarding the access of persons with disabilities to justice, the role of mass-media in the reflection of subjects regarding legal statute and protection, including the access to justice.
Chapter 1: Participation in Social Life
1.1 Attitudes regarding human dignity and discrimination against persons with disabilities
The violation of human dignity and the discriminatory attitude is one of the main problems faced by persons with disabilities. The experience of interviewed persons (149 interviews) shows multiple cases of violation of human dignity, much more frequent than cases of violation of respect (42 negative experiences and only 8 positive experiences).
The analysis of individual experiences outlines the fact that the lack of respect is found at the majority of interviewees. The interviewed persons with disabilities are telling about the fact that they feel “helpless” and believe that the world is seeing them useless for society, because due to their disability they cannot be socially active.
The most affected by the lack of respect are people under the age of 56, regardless of gender or place of living. The data show that persons with locomotor disabilities are the most frequently facing such type of situations, being followed by those with somatic diseases.
It hurts when you can’t get out of the house and nobody needs you. Who would ever need me in the state I’m in? What good do we see? I don’t see anything good, got it? I only stay home, I go a bit outside, than home again, a bit outside and that’s it. I don’t go anywhere, I just can’t, if I could see at least something, I would say something, at least with my hands, but if I don’t, what can I do? Not only that I cannot walk, I can’t even see. Someone has to take me by the hand, to bring me by the hand, to help me sit, to give me stuff. Thanks to my son, he is always around, gives me injections, medications, he is making me tea, he is feeding me, washing me, he takes care of me.
M, South, other type of disability, 52 years old
I felt down, like in a mud hole, useless… Because of indifference between people, they are treated differently; people look at them with disgrace, maybe because they treat others the way they are treated.
M, North, sensorial disability, 41 years old
During the survey, 28 cases of discrimination had been reported, the most often by persons aged 18-55 (especially persons aged 26-40), fact which denotes that namely the socially-active population or the population that should be socially involved is facing cases of discrimination. A higher rate of discrimination cases is recorded among persons with locomotor disabilities, due to the fact that namely this type of disability is the most visible and easier to identify. The rural population feels more discriminated than the urban one, due to the existent prejudices at people living in the rural areas.
People with disabilities also talk about situations where they were not accepted to participate in social life, they had been rejected and left in isolation due to their disability.
Because this is how people are, they like staring at you… I mean if they saw something, a certain defect that’s it, you fall within a different category of people. If they see that you are poor, that your life is harder, they consider you at a lower level. I think things should be different, because we are all equal. Maybe one person is with disabilities, another person has lower living conditions, but we are all equal, even before the law we are equal… But in our country people are divided into several categories.
M, North, somatic disability, 62 years old
We had a chess competition in our school. As I love chess, I wanted to participate, but they did not take me as I am disabled. Only healthy persons were allowed. Since then, I have never tried to participate again in a competition.
M, South, other type of disability, 18 years old
The interviewees feel rather helpless wanting to change the attitude of people towards them, they resign to this situation and they are not trying to change their attitude. The interviewed persons admit that people look at them differently, but they do not perceive this as a problem and understand that this fact is unintentional, by ignorance.
The most difficult thing is that being ill, people see us as a second category and this hurts. We are both disabled. If a family member is disabled, if parents are present, they protect him, or if the husband is near, he also protects him, and vice versa. But, if both family members are disabled, society sees them as a helpless family. Society sees us often as a begging family, only waiting for others to help us.
F, North, somatic disability, 53 years old
I fell right in the middle of the city, I fainted and only 2 women helped me out. Nobody else did. Everybody thought that I was drunk or I fell asleep on the chair. People really thought so. People were walking by and nobody helped me out, nobody even came near me.
M, South, sensorial disability, 49 years old
Due to this disease, I have to eat and drink more often. Friends are mocking me and isolate me from their circle, they ignore me more and more and I can’t find a job because…it’s hard. The greatest problem is with my friends because, as I said before, they won’t go out with me, isolating me and mocking me.
F, South, 42 years old
When you walk on the streets or in the transport, people mock you. You are not a healthy person and they laugh in your face because of it. They follow you, naming you bad words. It is really offending. What can I say?
M, South, somatic disability, 40 years old
I have been isolated, abandoned by my husband, by the world, because people are indifferent. They look at you differently, if they see someone fall down, they leave him there and pass by, as he doesn’t need to be helped and, at a certain extent, so it was.
F, South, intellectual disability, 22 years old
I had a situation when I was in the public transport, sitting quietly, a man addressed to me, asked me something, I showed him by hand gestures that I did not hear him, at which he replied: “are you deaf?” He started to call me bad names and making uncensored gestures. It wasn’t pleasant. This is why I do not use gestures in public transport, nor in the streets.
M, Nord, sensorial disability, 46 years old
The Law on social inclusion of persons with disabilities No. 60 of 30.03.2012, art. 8, par.(6) provides that “Discrimination against persons with disabilities consists in any differentiation, exclusion, marginalization, limitation or preference, as well as the refuse to create favorable conditions and reasonable adaptation environment, which lead to the impossibility or complication of recognition, accomplishment or use of civil, political, economic, social or cultural rights, is forbidden and punishable by the law in force”.
The Law on quality No. 121 of 25.05.20126 provides through art. 6 that any form of discrimination is forbidden. The promotion of a certain policy or performance of certain actions or inactions which violate the equality of rights of persons must be excluded by competent public authorities and sanctioned by law. Thus, no policy, normative act which is to be drafted by the Government and adopted by the Parliament must not admit discriminatory practices towards persons with disabilities.
A series of other normative acts, among which the Law on the activity of the Council for the prevention and exclusion of discrimination and ensurance of equality No. 298 of 21.12.20127, the Labor Code No. 154 of 28.03.20038, the Code of Civil Procedure No. 225 of 30.05.20039, contain special provisions regarding the ban on discrimination, including persons with disabilities.
- Note #6
- Law on equality No. 121/25.05.2012. In: the Official Monitor, 29.05.2012, No.103/355.
- Note #7
- Law on the activity of the Council for the prevention and exclusion of discrimination and ensurance of equality No. 298 of 21.12.2012. In: the Official Monitor, 05.03.2013, No.48.
- Note #8
- Labor Code No. 154 of 28.03.2003. In: the Official Monitor 29.07.2003, No.159-162.
- Note #9
- Code of Civil Procedure No. 225 of 30.05.2003. In: the Official Monitor, 21.06.2013, No.130-134.
Monitored mass-media materials very seldom reflect the subject matter of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Out of the 300 monitored materials, only around 7% comprise subjects which reflect cases or situations of discrimination.
Conclusions of the UN Report on poverty and human rights in the Republic of Moldova:
“Women are discriminated, Romani people are segregated, while persons with disabilities are either abused or exploited.
The degree of vulnerability grows if children have disabilities, if they are Romani, their parents are abroad or they are members of single-parent families.
The situation of persons with disabilities is bad, while the general integrity of persons with disabilities is missing.
…The old, obsolete system inherited from the soviet period beneficiates the exclusion from the society of persons with disabilities, especially persons with intellectual or psycho-social disabilities. We have been reported about situations when against such persons serious abuses had been committed: mental, physical and sexual”.
Official of the National Scientific and Practical Center of Pediatric Surgery “Natalia Gheorghiu”: “What does a disabled person mean? Additional allowances. A burden not only for the family, but for the state as well. A burden for the entire active population”.
Jurnal de Chisinau, 04.10.2013.
The limitation of the access of persons with disabilities to public spaces, social, economic, cultural infrastructure, etc. is one of the major problems faced by persons with disabilities.
The analysis of individual experience of persons with disabilities outlines the fact that the most frequently mentioned principle regarding the protection of persons with disabilities is participation, inclusion and accessibility. Positive experience of this principle supposes the recognition as equal participant, including by means of an environment free from any physical and social barriers, which ensures the effective participation of the disabled person in the social, cultural and political life, in sports, recreational and leisure activities. The negative experience linked with the observance of this principle represents segregation and isolation situations, based on the criteria of disability and/or the lack of support for satisfying personal needs, including the lack of accessibility. Out of 149 interviewees, around 58% (86 persons) gave negative examples of inclusion and accessibility.
I wanted to go to the military hospital, to exchange some money. I was on “Flacara” bus station, several minibus taxis passed by, nearly with no passengers, maybe with 4-5 passengers… I started to cry, as no minibus has stopped to take me, because I was on one foot with two crutches. On my way back the same situation occurred, around 4-5 minibus taxis passed by and only the fifth or the sixth stopped and took me.
M, South, mobility impairment, 52 years old.
When I want to go out somewhere, I have to find someone to help me get out in the street. I do not succeed to find someone all the time.
M, South, other type of disability, 18 years old
In the wintertime, I almost don’t go out at all. Only in the yard, for minor needs. Nobody comes in winter to remove the snow.
F, South, intellectual disability, 22 years old
Sometimes, awkward moments happen. When I cross the street, cars never stop to give me the chance to cross it, even on crosswalks. I am more confident when someone crosses the street with me…It happens that I cannot see price tags or inscriptions in the shops. It is usually written in small fonts and it is hard for me to understand. It is complicated for me to use the public transport, as I don’t see the number of the bus. And, again, I have to ask someone to stop the bus for me…
M, Center, sensorial disability, 55 years old
Taking into consideration the fact that there are stairs, crossings, I must be very careful not to fall. This is why I don’t go out much. In wintertime it is even more difficult, because of the ice, the road is slippery… I can’t go out by myself, only if my son helps me. If not – I don’t go. If it is a short distance, I go, but someone must help me come back home.
F, North, sensorial disability, 71 years old
Currently, after adopting the Law on social inclusion of persons with disabilities No. 60 of 30.03.2012, the legal and normative framework guarantees the access of persons with disabilities in equal terms with the others, whether it is the physical environment, transport, information or means of communication, including information technology and electronic means of communication, other public utilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and rural areas, in accordance with the effective normative acts. The rules of adaptation of social infrastructure objectives to the needs of disabled persons are approved by the national construction management body – the Ministry of Regional Development and Constructions. These rules currently exist but, according to experts’ recommendations, these must be reviewed10, as even the existent provisions – for example the General Regulation on Urbanism, approved by the Government Decision on the approval of the General Regulation on Urbanism No. 5 of 05.01.199811 – are not enough.
- Note #11
- Government Decision on the approval of the General Regulation on Urbanism No. 5 of 05.01.1998. In: the Official Monitor, 26.02.1998, No.14-15/95.
The state ensures the publication, by means of alternative communication systems (Braille system, in audio version, in a simple and understandable language, etc.) of artistic literature, school books, other didactic materials and training instruments. The rules of adaptation of information and communication systems to the needs of disabled persons, as well as those for using alternative means of communication (the Braille system, in the audio version, mimics and gesture language, etc.) within these systems, are to be approved by the Government.
Currently, the law in force does not provide alternative means of assistance and communication for disabled persons in all services and facilities available to the public, but it is limited to the regulations related to artistic literature and didactic materials.
As regards the training of interested persons in the field of accessibility for disabled persons – the appropriate regulations are missing. From the contents of the text of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities results the guarantee of the right to instruction of any persons, not only of persons with disabilities, but, the text of the Law on social inclusion of persons with disabilities No. 60 of 30.03.2012 refers only to the instruction for persons with disabilities. The Government is to draft training methodologies for all individuals interested in the accessibility issue, especially in the context of intense development of information technologies.
The report on the social protection of persons with disabilities and the implementation in 2012 of the Plan of Actions of the Social Inclusion Strategy of persons with disabilities (2010-2013)12 supposed the taking of certain significant measures in this field.
Government Decision No. 599/13.08.2013 on the approval of the Plan of Actions for the implementation of measures of ensuring the accessibility of disabled persons to social infrastructure13 provides the review and approval of technical standards and normative acts for ensuring the access of disabled persons to social infrastructure.
- Note #13
- Government Decision 599/13.08.2013 on the approval of the Plan of Actions regarding the implementation of measures for ensuring accessibility of persons with disabilities to the social infrastructure. In: the Official Monitor, 23.08.2013, No. 182-185/701.
A series of mass-media materials outlined the involvement of persons with disabilities in the awareness and community information process about the lack of access to public institutions: “Wheelchair ramps. Wheelchair ramps from Chisinau are not equipped properly, according to construction normative acts” and “We have ramps, but they are useless” (the results of the survey conducted by Association “MOTIVAȚIE” have been presented); “No parking lots. There is no parking space for persons with locomotor disabilities in Moldova” etc.
“Although they are bound by law to have wheelchair ramps, not all economic agents take this fact into account. Out of 590 buildings from the republic, verified by the State Inspection in Constructions, around 400 buildings are limiting the access of persons with disabilities. A Government Decision to this end provides that all buildings from the country are bound to be equipped with functional wheelchair ramps”.
TV 7, Cotidian, 31.10.2013 (reference is made to the survey conducted by Association “MOTIVAȚIE”)
“Out of around 200 driving schools from Moldova, none of them is adapted to the needs of disabled persons. Even if the equipment of vehicles is accessible and not very expensive, the majority of institutions do not perceive it as an obligation to observe these requirements… The situation would change in favour of disabled persons once with the introduction of training requirements for drivers, as in the European countries”.
UNIMEDIA news portal, 14.11.2012