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Do inhabitants of Ukrainian psycho-neurological institutions have the right to a private life?

August 17, 2023, 14:55 127 Author: Albert Pavlov helpus.org.ua Men and women with disabilities in most cases live in separate institutions and live in isolation.

In the fall of 2014, we at Helpus had a volunteer trip to the Preslav Psycho-Neurological Institution (PNI) that is on the shores of the Sea of Azov in the Zaporizhzhia region. In the evening, a concert was planned, and in the afternoon we went to the endless beaches of Obitochnaya Kosa together with several inhabitants of PNI. Several couples who lived in the psycho-neurological institution in separate rooms, as a man and a woman, went with us. But they are not officially married. It all looked very romantic.

In general, this is unusual for Ukrainian psycho-neurological institutions, which are often divided into male and female. There are few mixed psycho-neurological institutions. It is easier for the staff to deal with inhabitants of the same sex. But isn't such separation a violation of the rights of people with disabilities to communicate with persons of the opposite sex? Of course, this is discrimination.

In all-male or all-female psycho-neurological institutions, inhabitants are sometimes compelled to engage in same-sex relationships, even if they are not homosexual. In addition, in all-male or all-female psycho-neurological institutions, according to my observations, there is much more aggression.

But solving this problem is not so easy. It is necessary to have clear rules on what to do in case of pregnancy. How to teach inhabitants to prevent pregnancy and diseases. For this, it is necessary to train the psycho-neurological institution management and staff. But all this is almost impossible to do in the existing PNI system, where hundreds of people live in cramped quarters in each psycho-neurological institution, and there is a catastrophic lack of staff.

Now the Preslav Psycho-Neurological Institution has remained in the occupied territory, and its head, appointed shortly before the war, has gone to cooperate with the russian invaders and is running for the deputies of United russia. The fate of the inhabitants is not known to anyone, because when the war was approaching, none of the leaders thought about evacuation options. But I hope that one day the inhabitants of this psycho-neurological institution and I will have a picnic on the shore of the Sea of Azov.

In the meantime, I would like to remind you that we are creating houses of supported living where former inhabitants of PNI will be able to live in the community and have the same rights as ordinary people.

You can help build such a house right now -