“In a Union of equals, there can be no second class citizens” – so what about people with intellectual disabilities?

``In a Union of equals, there can be no second class citizens`` - so what about people with intellectual disabilities?

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his “State of the Union” speech today

Click here for the easy-to-read version

 

In a Union of equals, there can be no second class citizens.” This is what the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said today in his State of the Union Address. In his speech, Juncker presented his priorities for the year ahead and his vision for the future of the EU.

At Inclusion Europe, we strongly agree with this statement. Unfortunately, in many EU member states, people with intellectual disabilities are still very much treated as second class citizens.

This becomes obvious when looking at a number of issues, such as:

  • Legal capacity: As a “first class” citizen, you are able to make decisions about your own life, get married and start a family. As a first class citizen, you can sign contracts. You can vote and you can stand for election to make your voice heard.
  • Education: As a first class citizen, you can get a proper education. You are not segregated into “special” schools but can learn with the children from your neighborhood.
  • Independent living: As a first class citizen, you can decide where and with whom you want to live. You can decide how you want to structure your day, when to eat and when to sleep.
  • Poverty: As a first class citizen, you are being paid a decent salary for your work. This enables you to have a good standard of living and you don’t need to live in poverty.
  • Health: As a first class citizen, you have access to good health care and to doctors who understand your situation and take you seriously.

Many people with intellectual disabilities are denied these rights.

They do not have the same opportunities and don’t get the same treatment as everyone else. We think that people with intellectual disabilities should not be treated as second class citizens! As should nobody else.

Unfortunately, Mr. Juncker failed to mention the needs and rights of people with disabilities in his speech – a disappointing move, considering the 80 million people with disabilities living in Europe, 7 million of whom have intellectual disabilities.

We hope that Mr. Juncker will put the rights of people with disabilities more into focus in his next State of the Union speech. They are European citizens, and they have every right to be first class citizens.

Mr. Juncker also mentioned European social standards, as way of improving the lives of EU citizens. We welcome this idea and strongly suggest that the work on designing these standards begins by addressing the issues mentioned above.

Inclusion Europe will keep pointing out when the concerns and needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families are forgotten – and we will fight for them until they get what they deserve: first class!

Easy-to-read version

Click on a word which is in blue to read what it means.

Today Jean-Claude Juncker talked about how things are going in the European Union.

Jean-Claude Juncker is the President of the European Commission.

When Juncker spoke he talked about how everyone should be treated equally.

Juncker also spoke about what he wanted the European Union to do this year and in the future.

 

At Inclusion Europe we agree with what Juncker said
about everyone being treated the same.

But in the European Union at the moment people with intellectual disabilities
are not treated the same as everyone else.

You can see how people with intellectual disabilities are not treated the same
as everyone else
when you look at some different topics.

Many people with intellectual disabilities are not allowed legal capacity.

 

When you have full legal capacity you can make decisions about your own life
and you can get married and start a family.

When you have full legal capacity you can also vote and stand for election.

Many people with intellectual disabilities cannot do these things
because they do not have full legal capacity.

 

In education and learning many people with intellectual disabilities 
are not treated the same as everyone else.  

Often children with intellectual disabilities have to go to different schools
and cannot go to school with the other children where they live.  

 

Lots of people with intellectual disabilities must live in institutions 

This means that they cannot live independently 

 

When you live independently you can choose where you live and who you live with.  

When you live independently you can also choose when you do things like eat and sleep. 

 

Many people with intellectual disabilities cannot do these things
because they are not allowed to live independently. 

 

Many people with intellectual disabilities do not get paid the right amount for working. 

It is important to get paid the right amount in order to be able to buy things. 

It is not fair that many people with intellectual disabilities are not getting paid properly.  

 

Many people with intellectual disabilities do not get treated properly
at the doctor’s office or hospital.  

To be treated properly the doctors should take people seriously
and should understand how people are feeling.  

 

People with intellectual disabilities do not get treated the same as other people in many ways.  

At Inclusion Europe we think that people with intellectual disabilities  

should be treated the same as everyone else! 

 

Sadly when Mr. Juncker was talking about what is happening in the European Union right now  

he did not talk about people with disabilities.  

It is sad he did not talk about what the needs or rights of people with disabilities are. 

It is sad because there are 80 million people in Europe who have disabilities.  

7 million of those people with disabilities have intellectual disabilities.  

 

Inclusion Europe hopes that next time when Mr. Juncker talks about the European Union
he talks about people with disabilities.  

We hope Mr. Juncker talks about people with disabilities because people with disabilities 
deserve to be treated the same as everyone else.  

To be treated properly the doctors should take people seriously
and should understand how people are feeling.  

People with intellectual disabilities do not get treated the same as other people in many ways.  

At Inclusion Europe we think that people with intellectual disabilities 
should be treated the same as everyone else! 

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