Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC), Budapest, HU
The Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) is a Hungarian foundation
established in response to an identified need for a regional human
rights organisation to specifically challenge human rights abuses
against people with disabilities.
Upon its foundation MDAC's main objectives were to promote legal and
other forms of advocacy for the human rights of people with
intellectual disabilities and psycho-social (mental health)
disabilities. Its focus was principally upon central and eastern Europe
and, the former Soviet Union. The goal was simple: to improve the
quality of life for such individuals by advocating public policies that
promoted community integration, self-determination and support for them
and their families.
In 2004 MDAC became a cooperating organisation of the International
Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and gained participatory status
with the Council of Europe. In 2006 MDAC refined and broadened its
mission and vision. Its specific mission now is to advance the human
rights of children and adults with actual or perceived intellectual or
psycho-social (mental health) disabilities. Focusing on Europe and
central Asia, MDAC uses a combination of law and advocacy to promote
equality and social integration. Its vision is for a world that values
emotional, mental and learning differences, and where people respect
each other's autonomy and dignity.
In 2007 MDAC continued to implement its mission working on the national
level with local partner NGOs on various projects in Bulgaria, Croatia,
the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Russia; and on the international
level partnering in European research projects and engaging in advocacy
activities with the United Nations, the OSCE, and the European Union.
The challenges faced by MDAC and those for whom it works are immense.
Human rights abuses include discrimination, inequality, inadequate
care, treatment and support, deprivation of liberty, isolation and
segregation. Through national and international litigation and
advocacy, campaigns at national and international levels and through
education, steady progress is being made.
The Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) advances the human rights
of children and adults with actual or perceived intellectual or
psycho-social disabilities. Focusing on Europe and Central Asia, it
uses a combination of law and advocacy to promote equality and social
MDAC's vision is for a world that values emotional, mental and learning
differences, and where people respect each other's autonomy and dignity.
- Oliver Lewis, Executive Director
Oliver was appointed MDAC's Executive Director in September 2006,
having served as its Legal Director for five years since its inception.
Oliver graduated in law from the London School of Economics and
Political Science (LSE) and obtained a postgraduate degree in medical
law and ethics at King's College London. He qualified as a barrister in
the UK, a position which he maintains through his associate membership
of Doughty Street Chambers, London. In 1999-2000 Oliver worked at the
UK's Department of Health researching mental health law reform.
Oliver is a visiting professor at the Central European University in
Budapest, teaching mental disability law and advocacy to postgraduate
human rights students. He is also a Fellow at
CEU's Center for Ethics and Law in Biomedicine. He
has given lectures at several universities around the world, and is on
the faculty of a new international diploma in mental health and human
rights, run by the University of Pune, India.
Mental Disability Advocacy Centre
Rakoczi ut 27/B
Phone: +36 1 413 2730
Fax: +36 1 413 2739