Validity Foundation - Mental Disability Advocacy Centre

New Film: I am the director of my own ‘institution’ | Validity Seasonal Appeal 2022

By Steven Allen 7th December 2022


We are delighted to announce the release of this new film, featuring Validity client István Cservenka as part of Validity’s 2022 seasonal appeal – full film below.

Forced to endure decades of institutionalisation simply for having a disability in Hungary, the team at Validity have been proud to support István’s journey to independence following over three decades trapped in Hungary’s largescale system of disability institutions.

“I am the director of my own ‘institution’” depicts István’s transition to living independently with the support of people he trusts, and free legal support provided by Validity. The film shows the legal and social barriers István faced to gaining true independence, including the threat of being placed under guardianship and our legal steps to ensure he retained his right to legal capacity. It also describes Validity’s work to undertake strategic litigation challenging largescale systems of institutionalisation and guardianship that affect millions of persons with disabilities around the world.

Fast facts

  • Hungary detains over 22,500 people with disabilities in institutions, often for life.
  • The country also keeps 55,000 people with disabilities under guardianship, meaning they cannot make decisions about their own lives.
  • Both practices violate Hungary’s commitments under international human rights law.
  • It is estimated that 1.2 million persons with disabilities are detained in institutions across Europe, and many more are subject to abusive guardianship regimes.
  • In 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found Hungary responsible for grave and systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities for maintaining its systems of institutionalisation and guardianship, following an inquiry initiated by Validity.
  • The Validity Foundation is the only specialised international legal advocacy organisation taking human rights cases on behalf of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. Each case is completely free for our clients and is carefully crafted to ensure the maximum benefit for each client, and to trigger systemic reforms.
  • Please get in touch if you can support our work.

To continue making impact, Validity needs your support. The truth is that there are fewer donors than ever who support strategic litigation on disability rights.

Please donate if you can support us to continue taking cases for clients like István, across Europe and beyond.