De-institutionalization as an Opportunity to Promote Human Rights of People with Intellectual and/or Psychosocial Disabilities in Belarus

Project duration

January 2016 – June 2019


European Union

Project goal

Virtually all forms of dissent are suppressed and restrictive legislation as well as abusive practices used to impede freedom of association and assembly exist in Belarus. These issues do receive attention and support from international stakeholders, on the contrary to the needed protection of rights of people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities (PIPD). PIPD are usually deemed to be legally incapable and are confined in large residential care institutions – psychoneurological internats, which is the main form of social care services for PIPD in the country. The proposed action is a result of continuous efforts of the Applicant and Co-applicant to respond timely to violations of human rights (HR) of vulnerable groups, and seek to reform and de-institutionalise the old-fashioned institutional health and social care systems inherited from the Soviet Union, that tend to lead to significant violations of HR and ill-treatment of vulnerable people.

This will be addressed through such activities, as capacity building of Belarus civil society organisations on de-institutionalisation (De-I) and advocacy, implementation of mini sub-grants for De-I advocacy activities in 6 regions of Belarus with ongoing support and monitoring of sub-granted initiatives, establishment and coordination of civil society organisations’ Coalition for De-I, completing a feasibility study on development of community based services and De-I, as well as public opinion polls on De-I, awareness raising campaign, meetings and conferences, etc.

Expected results

1. Belarus civil society organisations are mobilized to promote and further watchdog the process of de-institutionalization.

2. De-institutionalisation advocacy tools and strategy are developed.

3. Stakeholders and society in general are more supportive towards the idea of de-institutionalisation in Belarus.

Project partner

Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Офис по правам людей с инвалидностью)

Project budget: 276 609 EUR