Support Reform of Disability Rights

Abandoned Psychiatric Ward

Target: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of Croatia

Goal: Urge Croatian government to reform laws for people with disabilities.

The United Nations, appalled by Croatia’s lack of rights and respect for people with disabilities, has called on the country to do more for institutionalized people with disabilities and improve its disability rights record, according to a Human Rights Watch dispatch report. To date, Croatia’s support and protection of disabled citizens has been shoddy, with more than 8,000 persons with disabilities locked away in institutions, many of them without their consent.

In Croatia, people with disabilities are among the most discriminated and exploited group in the country. With little rights and no respect, Croatians with disabilities desperately need the support of the country’s government to reform disability rights, which would greatly improve their livelihoods.

Domestic legislation has also failed to protect the rights of the disabled, as it fails to comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a body of ordinances that outlines the rights of the disabled or mentally impaired. Since 2008, the country has promised to improve conditions for its disabled population, but has failed miserably in making any progress towards those developments.

Other issues in the country’s mistreatment and apathy towards the rights of disabled persons include the lack of acceptance of deinstitutionalization–the act of moving disabled or mentally impaired people out of residential institutions and reintegrating them into communities–and child abandonment, wherein the country sees countless amounts of children with special needs discarded at institutions and mental health centers.

Lastly, the disabled and mentally impaired are also denied the right to legal capacity–the right to make decisions regarding marriage, forming a family, seeking employment or owning property. Instead, Croatia allows guardians to make all decisions for them, much of which isn’t in the best interest of the disabled individual.   

Disabled or mentally impaired individuals in Croatia deserve to have their autonomy respected. The country’s government holds the key to granting them the rights and respect that they are entitled to, and it should work swiftly to reform disability rights.

Sign the petition to urge President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia to reform laws for people with disabilities and respect the human rights of these overlooked individuals.


Dear President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović,

Disabled persons and the mentally impaired are among the most neglected and disrespected group of people in your country. They are denied basic human rights and are often institutionalized without their consent.

Trapped in state and private institutions, many of these individuals never get the opportunity to learn how to become reintegrated into their communities and lose out on opportunities, such as marriage, building a family, and even owning property due to the country’s shoddy legislation and outright indifference towards their existence.

There are over 8,000 people, some of them forcibly placed and some of them abandoned children with special needs, in institutions across the country. Many of these facilities also still execute the archaic and widely disputed practice of restraining–the process of ‘locking up’ or ‘tying down’ an individual in restraints for obscenely long periods of time.

The mentally impaired and disabled have endured enough mistreatment at the hands of the country’s failed psychiatric system and its government. It is time for a huge reform to take place, and I urge you to facilitate these changes so that persons with disabilities are seen as respected members of society capable of living decent lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: [AndreasS] via Flickr

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