How can we make sure that people with intellectual disabilities can live their lives independently and free from discrimination? Two articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) are of utmost importance to achieve this goal:
Article 19 (Living independently and being included in the community) – This article deals with the measures states should take to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently.
Article 5 (Equality and Non-discrimination) – This article deals with the steps states should take to protect and promote equality and eliminate discrimination.
The UN CRPD is the first human rights convention to which the EU has become a party, and also many other European states outside of the EU have signed it.
The General Comments that will be adopted for Article 19 and 5 will further define what these demands mean – all the more important it was for Inclusion Europe to present our point of view to the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. After all, we need to make sure that these General Comments do not water down the actual meaning of Article 19 and 5.
In our submission regarding Article 19, we stressed these main points:
- People with disabilities need to have the legal capacity to decide where they want to live. For people with intellectual disabilities, this also means that supported decision making needs to be an option available to them.
- A choice must be a real choice, not a decision taken due to the lack of other options. States must make sure that alternative options to institutions exist and people need to be able to take an informed decision.
- Institutions are also places where people supposedly live in the community, but in reality are not able to make choices about their lives. Under no circumstances should states be encouraged to further support existing institutions and hinder the deinstitutionalisation process.
- Living in the community is especially important for people with complex support needs. Often, it is commonly assumed that people with complex support needs cannot live in the community, whereas they benefit greatly from being included
- People with disabilities need support when moving from institutions to the community and states need to make sure that this support exists. This includes help for people who have suffered from violence in institutions.
- Families are especially important for people with intellectual disabilities at different stages in life – in childhood and during their teenager years, and as well when they are trying to find their own way as adults. Parents and sibilings must get the support they need so they can in turn help their children or brother/sister to live independently and be included in society.
As for Article 5, we pointed out the following (amongst other things):
- In many countries, people with intellectual disabilities are neither allowed to vote nor to stand for office in elections. Without this possibility, they cannot make their voices heard and make sure politicians take their interests into account. Apart from this, people with intellectual disabilities are not given any legal capacity. This puts huge obstacles in their way when they want to find a job, get married, have children etc.
- Family members of people with intellectual disabilities are too often expected to be the only ones providing support. This frequently leaves them isolated, exhausted and unable to fulfill and enjoy other family roles (being a mother or father, brother or sister…).
- Too many children and adults with intellectual disabilities cannot attend mainstream schools because of discrimination, which results in a lifetime of segregation.
- Children and adults with complex support needs are one of the most vulnerable groups and are being discriminated against in access to full participation in all areas of society.
You can find all the related documents below:
Inclusion Europe submission to the Draft General Comment No 5 on Article 19 – this includes an easy-to-read version
The next steps will be:
- The UNCRPD Committee will adopt the Final General Comment n°5 on Article 19 after it has taken into account all contributions sent by stakeholders
- The UNCRPD Committee will organise a day of discussion on 25 August 2017 during its 18th session in Geneva to give an opportunity to people to present their views on equality and non-discrimination.
Inclusion Europe will closely follow the developments and keep its members updated on this important topic.
Click on a word which is in blue to read what it means.
This is written in a document called
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This document it is also named UN CRPD.
The problem is: How can we be sure that people with intellectual disabilities can live independently
and not be discriminated against?
The UN CRPD has different parts. These are called articles.
The articles talk about the rights of people with disabilities.
2 of these articles are:
- Article 19
- Article 5
Article 19 talks about living independently
and being included in the community.
It also talks about what states should do
to help people with disabilities so they can live independently.
Article 5 talks about what states need to do
so people with disabilities are not discriminated against.
For both articles, the UN CRPD Committee is currently preparing
The General Comments say what the rights which they write about
in the article 19 and the article 5 mean in practice.
Inclusion Europe has thought about some changes to add to the General Comments.
The changes for the General Comment for the Article 19 are:
- People with disabilities need to have legal capacity.
That also means that people with intellectual disabilities can have supported decision making.
- People with intellectual disabilities need to be able to choose.
The states need to give people with intellectual disabilities different options they can choose from.
For example, some people with intellectual disabilities might say that they want to live in an institution.
But this is not a real choice if they do not have other options.
- States should not support institutions anymore.
- Living in the community is important for all people with intellectual disabilities.
Sometimes people think that some people with intellectual disabilities cannot live in the community,
but this is not true.
For example, people with intellectual disabilities
who also use a wheelchair can still live in the community.
- People with intellectual disabilities need help when they move from institutions to the community.
States need to be sure that people with disabilities get help.
- Families are very important for people with intellectual disabilities.
Their parents and their sisters and brothers need to get help.
Then they can help the person with the intellectual disability to live independently.
Inclusion Europe also thought about changes for the General Comment for the Article 5:
- People with intellectual disabilities are not always allowed to vote
and stand up for elections.
If they cannot do this, they cannot speak for themselves.
- People with intellectual disabilities often only get support from their families.
This can be very difficult for the families.
- A lot of children and adults with intellectual disabilities
cannot go to school together with other people
who don’t have intellectual disabilities.
They cannot do this because they are discriminated against.
This needs to stop.
The next things that will happen are:
The UNCRPD Committee will publish the General Comment on Article 19.
It will do this when it has seen the changes
that Inclusion Europe and other organisations have proposed.
The UNCRPD Committee will let people speak about discrimination.
This will be on the 25th of August.
It will be in Geneva in Switzerland.
You can find all the documents that we talked about below.
Only the first one is in easy-to-read.
Inclusion Europe submission to the Draft General Comment No 5 on Article 19 –
this includes an easy-to-read version