#IncludeNews March 2023

Overview of news, reports, policies relevant to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Europe.

#IncludeNews March 2023

#IncludeNews bring you updates about work done for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. This post is updated during the month.

Previously on #IncludeNews: February 2023.  


Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights calls for inclusive education, deinstitutionalisation in Czechia.

Czechia “should spare no effort to address the long-standing problem of the exclusion of Roma people and people with disabilities, and to ensure that they can live in equality and dignity,” the Commissioner said following her visit to the country.

  • The Commissioner paid specific attention to inclusive education, since ensuring that children of all backgrounds and abilities, including Roma children and children with disabilities, can learn together is a fundamental building block for a more tolerant and fair society. In this respect, the Commissioner addressed numerous issues, including the need to ensure that pedagogical assistance remains fully available to those who need it, and to tackle discriminatory practices in relation to enrolment or the drafting of catchment areas. 
  • The Commissioner also noted that many people with disabilities continue to live or undergo long-term treatment in large-scale institutions. “Efforts to deinstitutionalise the social and health care systems and to fully move to community-based support for people with disabilities should be redoubled”, the Commissioner said. The Commissioner also discussed the conditions in institutions, including reported instances of serious ill-treatment. Other areas requiring urgent attention include safeguards in relation to involuntary treatment and the deprivation of legal capacity. Further steps are also necessary to ensure accessibility of public places, media and information.


Cognitive accessibility in Spain

Plena inclusión organised conference about cognitive accessibility.



Outrageous ruling in Czechia

Man rapes woman with intellectual disabilities, court says it’s ok as “he was sexually frustrated” and “she cannot be harmed as she doesn’t understand this anyway”.

From the judgement:

  • “The social harmfulness of the offence is to some extent diminished by the failure to satisfy his sexual urge when he arrived home. And it was undoubtedly triggered primarily by the amount of alcohol consumed,”
  • “Fortunately, the defendant’s actions did not leave any significant effects on the victim’s health. As the act itself exceeds the victim’s ability to properly understand and evaluate the event.”


Judy Heumann died 

European disability movement mourns passing of disability icon Judy Heumann, who died 4 March.

Judy Heumann was a remarkable activist that progressed disability rights around the world.

Change never happens at the pace we think it should. It happens over years of people joining together, strategizing, sharing, and pulling all the levers they possibly can. Gradually, excruciatingly slowly, things start to happen, and then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, something will tip.
– Judy Heumann


Finland: People with intellectual disabilities were forgotten after the health care reform in Västnyland

Families of people with intellectual disabilities have become increasingly despondent during the spring when some of the services seem to have gone up in smoke. Despite months of trying, no one has been able to give any indication of where to turn.

Markus and Robin Pinomaa have been missing social workers since the turn of the year and do not get an appointment with a neurologist. Madde Nyman’s family does not know which doctor will handle her affairs in the future. Despite countless calls and emails, both families are as deranged as they were three months ago.


Porto Social Forum 2023 (Council of the EU)

The meetings of the Porto Social Forum aim to monitor the development of the EPSR by mobilising forces for its development and discussing its priorities; to debate the responses to the EU’s major structural challenges in their impact on the social dimension and the progress of cohesion; and to reflect on the different perspectives of civil society actors regarding the cyclical challenges that the
complex global situation is posing to the EU and its citizens.

The conference takes place 26-27 May 2023 in Porto, Portugal. More, .pdf.


EEG has new co-chairs

The EEG (European Expert Group) is a coalition of organisations advocating to replace institutionalisation with family- and community-based support.

The EEG has played big part in establishing deinstitutionalisation as part of EU policies, and promoting the use of EU funds for this purpose.

The EEG has created a number of useful tools, such as:

From 1 March, Haydn Hammersley (EDF) and Milan Šveřepa (Inclusion Europe) are co-chairing the group. 

  • Here are excerpts from an interview with Milan about deinstitutionalisation, from 2020.


Abuse of people with disabilities on “care farm” institution in Netherlands

The Dutch care inspectorate reported abuse in a “residential care farm”. 

  • For example, a client’s head was smeared with peanut butter, after which a dog licked him and a client was put in a ditch. Also, someone was pushed with his head into the toilet and caregivers threw sand into a client’s bed because he would not have weeded the garden properly.
  • Another client had a whole orange shoved into his mouth. He was then pulled back by his hair. Yet another client was put outside the window for making loud noises.
  • Residents of the care farm were also belittled in other ways. They were laughed at, insulted and humiliated, the inspectorate writes.

6 people were arrested by the police. The resident of the farm were moved to other services.





Subscribe to Include newsletter for news about inclusion and rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.

This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.

Being visible and vocal on issues directly affecting millions of people requires your support. 

Become Inclusion Europe supporter and help us keep doing our work.