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    Death Camps Next To You is a human rights campaign developed by the Centre for Legal Resources promoting the rights of institutionalized persons … Read More
    Death Camps Next To You is a human rights campaign developed by the Centre for Legal Resources promoting the rights of institutionalized persons with mental disabilities. Read Less
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THE CLIENT: Centre for Legal Resources (CLR) / Centrul de Resurse Juridice (CRJ) - a human rights NGO that defends the rights of institutionalized persons with mental disabilities and fights against discrimination against vulnerable persons. www.crj.ro
 
THE CHALLENGE: Change the Romanian law towards a better way to prevent abuses by the state's institutions aginst persons with mental disabilities that are placed in special care institutions financed by the government.
 
FACTS:
- In Romania 2015 there are 25.000 persons (7.000 children, 17.000 adults) with mental disabilities placed in over 700 specialized care institutions financed from the public budget.
- During 2010 - 2015, 5.000 persons with mental disabilities died in these places, although they were placed under the state's protection system, with the declared purpose to rehabilitate and recover. Few of these deaths were ever investigated as the law requires.
- These places work in simillar ways as prisons - the "beneficiaries" as they're called, are placed there by a judge's decision, are not allowed to leave the premises without special consent and and you are not allowed to enter or visit without a special approval beforehand.
- The media periodically and with increasing frequancy reports of horrific abuses going on in these places - from human traffiking for prostitution and beggary, to physical and verbal abuse to lack of basic services and access to fair justice.
- Romaina who is under constant scrutiny by International Human Rights Organizations (UN, Council of Europe etc.) for ill treatment and torture of this vulnerable group, has been condemned at ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) in several cases and is behind the schedual with actually implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
 
THE CHALLENGE: change the Romanian law in a way that it implements an Independent Monitoring Mechanism that would prevent abuses, would guarantee beneficiaries acess to fair justice and that would contribute to de-institutionalization and encourage life inside the community.
 
RESULTS: After 1 year of street and online advocacy campaign, on December 21st 2015, the Senat (the deciding chamber) voted in favor of the law proposed by CLR, with 102 votes for and 2 abstentions, thus accomplishing the main objective of the campaign. Of course, there is still much work to be done.
 
Scroll down to see details about THE CAMPAIGN.
Photo: Odeta Catană / CLR
THE CAMPAIGN
 
- An online petition addressed to the members of the Parliament, asking to change the law and adopt CLR's law proposal
- A national caravan featuring a special photo installation with the purpose to create awareness for the human rights viloations and to gather public support for the law proposal
- Organizing public debates with everyone holding a stake in this matter - government and municipality representatives, NGOs, the media and citizens
- An online community on Facebook to constantly communicate with the public, keep people informed, mobilize people for certain actions like signing the petition and creating buzz
- Post cards with "photos from the death camps" that people can sign and send to their MPs with a message supporting the CLR's law proposal
- Collaborations with investigation journalists that wrote about and investigated human rights violations in institutions for persons with mental disabilities
- Media advocacy tactics, targeting the wide public and/or decision factors with the purpose of explaining the problems of the actual situation and the benefits of the law proposal (print ads in two national newspapers, SMS campaign targeting politicians before the vote etc.)
Online petition on de-clic.ro online campaigning platform - gathered approx. 11.000 signitures. Also promoted on flyers with a QR code and web link, offered during street events (photo exhibition). See it on facem.de-clic.ro/fara-lagare.
Online Facebook Community started in April 2015. 5.000+ Likes till December 2015. The facebook page was the main communication channel with the public, used to gather signitures for the online petition, to mobilize people for certain actions, to create awareness for various issues concerning persons with disabilities, like discrimination, abuses, solutions, how other countries approached or managed these problems, all with the final purpose of creating public support for the campaign's cause. Visit the page on facebook.com/LagareleDeLangaTine.
Photo exhibition "Photos from hidden lives" - an itinerary exhibition with over 140 photos from institutions for persons with mental disabilities, depicting the lives of this vulnerable group. The exhibition visited 5 times Bucharest (NGO Fest, Street Delivery, University Passage, British Council and inside the Senate) and 7 other big cities: Targu Mures, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Timisoara, Oradea and Sibiu. People could see the photos, find out about about the campaign, sign the petition and the postal cards. Each street event was followed by a public debate regarding the iessues of the campaign. (photo: Cluj-Napoca, June 2015)
The flyer featuring the petition's text and the link where people can sign when they get access to the internet. The flyers were distributed throughout the campaign, especially during the street echibition and other events.
Postal cards addressed to the members of the Parliament, that were signed by people who visited the photo exhibition and delivered to the MPs on the day of the vote, in support of the law proposal. 3.000+ postal cards signed at the end of the campaign.
Media investigations published within the campaign:
 
- Amintirea unor morţi: Poiana Mare, 2004. Datoria Senatului României (I) – Ioana Lupea, jurnalist și blogger Adevărul
- Pastile pentru copii speciali – Oana Moisil, Casa JurnalistuluiOamenii nimănui | România furată – Ana Poenariu, Digi24
Oamenii nimănui | România furată – Ana Poenariu, Digi24
A week before the vote in the Senate's committees - a crucial vote upon the law before the final vote in the Senate - we bought a spread in Libertatea and Romania Libera - two national newspapers with big circulation. We communicated the shameful number of deaths of persons with mental disabilities in institutions ("The Death Map") and an infographic stating the human rights violations and the solution we were proposing. The plea ended with encouraging people to sign the online petition and keep an eye on the Senate's activity - the final decision maker regarding this issue.
Back cover of Libertatea newspaper issued on the day of the vote in the Senate's committees.
Find out more about the campaign on www.crj.ro/lagarele-de-langa-tine
 
There you can see more photos with the street photo exhibition, photos from institutions and find full details about the campaign development and results.
“Death Camps Next to You” is a project initiated by the Centre for Legal Resources and financed through the EEA Grants 2009 – 2014, through the NGO Fund in Romania. For more details go to www.fondong.fdsc.ro