There are reportedly more than 165,000 disabled people in Moldova—roughly 5% of the population. The disabled are among the most disadvantaged in the country and their basic rights are often neglected. In July 2008, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) began sponsoring the Center of Legal Assistance for People with Disabilities. The center defends and promotes the rights of disabled persons in Moldova by informing them of their legal rights, by offering pro bono legal assistance, by raising public awareness about problems the disabled face and by strengthening the capacity of non-governmental organizations that offer services to the disabled. The center was founded in 2006 by people with disabilities and is located in the premises of the National Center for People with Disabilities. It offers free legal assistance to national center patrons in exchange for free office space and access to equipment. The center’s legal team consists of two full-time lawyers and several volunteers.
The center’s legal professionals provide in-person pro bono consultations in their offices. They communicate with clients via mail, email and telephone. They also travel to the beneficiaries’ residences to accommodate the needs of those who cannot visit the center due to physical restrictions. Rights information is also spread to the remotely located through the center’s mobile visits. These mobile visits include both a presentation on one or two areas of legal rights and the opportunity to consult with a center lawyer on an individual basis.
To learn more about our work in Moldova, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.