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At the peak of the Covid-19 infections, on April 30, the Serbian government published data that 574 people living in residential care institutions, including those for people with disabilities, had been infected with the virus. More recent numbers…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News
As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with…
Marina  [pseudonym], a 4-year-old girl with developmental disabilities who spent ten months of her life in an institution, with her foster sister. © 2015 Jasenko Rasol for Human Rights Watch
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The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
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The day I met Julija she was playing cheerfully with her baby sister on the floor inside their room in Kragujevac, a small town in southern Serbia. When she saw me – a stranger — on the doorstep, she smiled widely and stretched out her hands, offering a…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković
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Long Journey Home for Baby With Disabilities

At her local church in Yerevan, Armenia, Siranush lit a candle and prayed that her daughter would survive the night. Lusine, 22, was hovering between life and death in a nearby hospital after a terrible car crash. As Siranush pleaded for her daughter’s…
Armenia Orphanage Witness - Meri 1
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I walked into a dimly lit, windowless room and saw “Anur,” who was struggling to stand up in the fenced area where he was confined. Other children with disabilities in the institutions I’ve visited were in rooms with as many as 10 children, with cribs…
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The day Julija was born should have been a day of celebration for Jasmina and Ivica Čuković, a Serbian couple, who had tried for years to have a baby. But the events following their daughter’s birth in a public hospital in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, left…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković
News
Millions of children across Russia experience the excitement this week of going back to school: reuniting with friends, tackling new subjects, and expanding their knowledge and skills. But for Russia's more than 540,000 children with disabilities, back to…
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Seven year-old Nika brims over with life, dancing and singing her way around the kitchen of her family’s home outside Moscow. All smiles, she pauses to tell a visitor about the ballerinas she saw perform at a recent Christmas show, recites bits of poetry…
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Moscow – During a recent visit to Sochi, Russia, I met 26 year-old “Maria” in the third-floor municipal apartment she shares with her mother, just a few miles from the gleaming new Olympic facilities awaiting thousands of athletes, fans, and other…
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Russia to Host the Paralympics, But Millions With Disabilities Face Discrimination

For many 19 year olds, the world is a place of growing possibilities and increasing independence. Not for Nikolai Titkov.  Thin and pale, he spends nearly all day, every day, in bed. Pushed against a wall in his narrow bedroom, the bed is a jumble of…
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When I first crossed the doorstep of an American high school as a 17-year-old new immigrant from Russia, my jaw dropped – kids in wheelchairs were playing tag in the wide hall, a cute teen-age couple was communicating animatedly in what appeared to be…
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People with disabilities, minorities, remain exposed to grave abuses

For many in Europe, the western Balkans still evoke images of the brutal conflicts that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The legacy of those wars continues to shape European Union and US policy toward the region. Repairing the damage…