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Serbia: Children With Disabilities Neglected

Government Should Invest in Community-Based Services

Wednesday 08 June 2016

(Belgrade, June 8, 2016) – Hundreds of Serbian children with disabilities face neglect and isolation in institutions that may lead to stunted intellectual, emotional, and physical development, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Serbian government has made some progress in protecting the rights of children with disabilities, but more should be done to end the routine placement of children in state institutions, and to provide support so that children with disabilities can live with their families or in other family-like settings.

The 89-page report, “’It is my dream to leave this place’: Children with Disabilities in Serbian Institutions,” documents the pressure families face to send children born with disabilities to large residential institutions, often far away from their homes, separating them from their families. There, children may experience neglect, inappropriate medication, and lack of privacy and have limited or no access to education.

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