ALMA, new form of support youth employment; Reports and proposed changes on right to vote in EU – #IncludeNews May 2022

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

ALMA, new form of support youth employment; Reports and proposed changes on right to vote in EU - #IncludeNews May 2022

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


Highlights this month:


 

The monitoring framework of the 2021-2030 Strategy for the Rights of Persons with disabilities published.

The monitoring framework allows to check the progress on each of the European Commission’s 64 actions in the Strategy.

(update 18 May)

 

€ 270 million to improve employability of disadvantaged young people in the EU.

  • First EU member states have expressed their commitment to implement the Commission’s new initiative ALMA (‘Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve’).
  • ALMA supports disadvantaged young people on their way into the job market or further education.

ALMA is for people:

  • aged 18-30;
  • vulnerable with regard to their chances of accessing work or training for individual or structural reasons (e.g. disability, long-term unemployment, insufficient  school performance/vocational skills, migration background).

ALMA offers:

  • a supervised stay abroad for a period of 2 to 6 months in another EU Member State;
  • a comprehensive project cycle implying coaching and counselling at every step.

Participants will be identified under the ESF+ programmes of EU Member States and regions that implement ALMA under their ESF+ programmes from 2022 onwards.

See here our resources on employment.

(update 18 May)

 

EDF publish Human Rights Report 2022 on political participation of persons with disabilities.

  • The report explores legal and practical barriers that prevent millions of persons with disabilities from exercising the same political rights as other EU citizens.
  • There is easy-to-read summary of the report available.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament proposed a new electoral law improving political rights of persons with disabilities.

(update 18 May)

 

Zero Project opens nominations on independent living, political participation, ICT

The Zero Project looks for social or political innovators who remove barriers through their innovative and inclusive solutions.

(update 18 May)

 

European Day of Independent living: 5 May

Disability organisations and the independent living movement mark the 9th edition of the European Day of Independent Living on this day.

  • The European Network on Independent Living calls on the EU to ensure the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
  • The European Network calls on the EU and its Member States to:
    • Replace institutional care by community-based support services.
    • Ensure disability support services respect the agency of disabled people.
    • Take effective measures to ensure equal access to education, employment and health.

There are still at least 1,4 million people living in institutions in the EU.

  • The number of people in institutions does not seem to have substantially changed over the past 10 years.
  • In many countries people with intellectual disabilities and people with complex support needs are most likely to still live in institutional settings.

More on the issue:

(update: 5 May)

 

European Parliament proposes a new electoral law improving political rights of persons with disabilities

The European Parliament adopted a resolution including a proposal for a new EU Electoral Law.

  • The proposed Electoral Law would be a great step forward concerning the political rights of persons with disabilities in the EU, because it ensures the right to vote of all EU citizens, regardless of their legal capacity, and sets out obligations for Member States to improve the accessibility of the European elections.

The EU Parliament approved these disability-related proposals:

  • Article 4: “Every Union citizen from 16 years of age, including persons with disabilities regardless of their legal capacity, shall have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament”.
  • Article 6 obliges Member States to ensure that people living in closed residential settings will be able to exercise their right to vote.
  • Article 7 on Accessibility sets out the following provisions:
    • “1. Member States shall ensure that all citizens, including persons with disabilities, have equal access to relevant materials, to voting facilities, and to polling stations.
    • 2. Based on their national voting systems, Member States shall put in place appropriate arrangements with the aim of facilitating the exercise of the right to vote by persons with disabilities independently and in secret.
    • 3. Member States shall ensure that persons with disabilities receive, at their request, assistance in voting by a person of their choice.”
  • Articles 8 and 17 also set out accessibility obligations as for postal voting and the electoral campaigns respectively.

The only aspect in which the proposed Electoral Law falls short is in article 5 on the right to stand as candidate, in which, despite a positive reference in a recital, it does not explicitly guarantee the right to stand for office regardless of legal capacity status. In most EU countries this will keep preventing persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities from becoming political candidates.

This welcome proposal follows years of campaigning by disability organisations, such as Inclusion Europe and the European Disability Forum.

(update: 4 May)

 

Hotel in Spain refused accommodation to a group of people with intellectual disabilities

A group of people with intellectual disabilities from an organisation called Círvite wanted to book an accommodation in a hotel.

  • The hotel refused the reservation, saying “it does not work with groups of minors, nor with groups of disabled.”
  • The hotel added “it can only be reserved for these people exceptionally individually as any individual reservation, and provided that they are accompanied by at least one adult of legal age trained per room.”

Plena inclusión Madrid considers this a violation of fundamental rights, contrary to the principles of equality, inclusion and non-discrimination of Spanish law.

Círvite is an organisation in Madrid, Spain. They support people with intellectual disabilities (for example with employment, decision-making), and families. Círvite said:

  • This is the first time this happened to us.
  • Most people will have, at some point in life, specific needs of support. Half of the population in Spain benefits from inclusive environments, products or services.
  • The inclusive approach legitimizes businesses, generates innovation, increases visibility and gives confidence to interest groups. Therefore, more and more organizations consider diversity as a principle for achieving excellence, accessing wider segments of the population.
  • It is estimated that in Spain there are 11.7 million consumers linked with disability.

(update: 4 May)

 

Koprivnica, Croatia, receives award for strategy on school inclusion of children with disabilities

The European Commission announced the first winners of the European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity Awards.

  • The awards aim to highlight towns, cities and regions across the EU leading by example in inclusive policies.
  • The awards are part of the European Diversity Month, declared for May.
  • The city of Koprivnica, Croatia, wins in a category for cities with less than 50,000 inhabitants.

Koprivnica was selected for its strategy to support people with disabilities,

  • “Increasing the social inclusion and integration of students with developmental disabilities into primary school institutions in the area of the city of Koprivnica and providing them with teaching support in order to create conditions for them to improve their educational achievements, more successful socialization and emotional functioning.
  • “The project aims to address the problem of unequal educational opportunities faced by students with developmental disabilities and needs support in the form of a teaching assistant or professional communication intermediaries.
  • “40 teaching assistants/professional communication intermediaries will be involved for 46 students with developmental disabilities.”

See Why we care about education.

(update from 3 May)

 

New Employment package for people with disabilities: In conversation with Katarina Ivanković Knežević

 

Conference on the Future of Europe adopts its recommendations.

The Conference on the Future of Europe was a consultation with selected EU citizens about what the EU should do.

Draft conclusions, recommendations were approved by the Conference on the Future of Europe. On 49 pages of text, disability is specifically mentioned on 7 occasions:

  • OBJECTIVE: Adopt a holistic approach to health, addressing, beyond diseases and cures, health literacy and prevention, and fostering a shared understanding of the challenges faced by those who are ill or disabled, in line with the “One Health Approach”, which should be emphasized as a horizontal and fundamental principle encompassing all EU policies. (page 8)
  • Develop at EU level a standard educational programme on healthy lifestyles, covering also sexual education. It should also encompass actions targeting both healthy lifestyle and environmental protection and how they can help prevent many diseases, such as for instance bicycling as a healthy mean for everyday mobility. It would be available free of charge to Member States and schools to use in their curricula, as appropriate. Such a programme would address stereotypes on those who are ill or disabled. (p 8)
  • Fight health poverty by encouraging free of charge dental care for children, low-income groups and other vulnerable groups, such as for instance the disabled. Also consider the impact of poor-quality housing on health. (p 9)
  • Promoting employment of disadvantaged groups, in particular among people with disabilities (online platform). (p 15)
  • Increasing and facilitating direct public investment in education, health, housing, physical infrastructures, care for the elderly and people with disabilities. (p 28)
  • Making a greater use of artificial intelligence and translation technologies to circumvent language barriers, ensuring the accessibility and usability of all the digital tools for people with disabilities. (p 37)
  • Amending EU electoral law to harmonise electoral conditions (voting age, election date, requirements for electoral districts, candidates, political parties and their financing) for the European Parliament elections (…) This reform should also aim at facilitating digital voting possibilities131 and guaranteeing effective voting rights for persons with disabilities. (p 38)

Learn more about:

(update from 3 May)

 

Russia’s war on Ukraine:


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