European Disability Strategy – people with intellectual disabilities have equal rights!
“European cooperation is very important and the EU plays a vital role to strengthen the rights of people with intellectual disability – and this is why the European Disability Strategy strategy must be more ambitious.”
This was the main message Inclusion Europe brought to the European Economic and Social Committee at its hearing on “The future of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020”.
The Committee organised the hearing to discuss how the strategy can support the follow-up of the recommendations for the EU which the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) had published in 2015. Participants also looked ahead to a strategy which might be put in place for the post-2020 period.
Inclusion Europe illustrated different ways for the strategy to become more ambitious.
First of all, the entire process of drafting, approving and monitoring the strategy should be accessible for people with intellectual disabilities, including easy-to-read versions and easy-to-understand meetings.
“The strategy affects people with intellectual disabilities. They should be in a position to have their say”, Milan Šveřepa, Inclusion Europe director, pointed out.
The European Disability Strategy should include clear targets on closing institutions!
Milan Šveřepa, Inclusion Europe Executive Director
The strategy needs to address the issue of legal capacity, which has far-reaching effects on the right of people with disabilities to make decisions about their own life. The strategy should therefore put forward supported decision-making instead of guardianship. “These are key also to make progress in all priority areas of the current strategy, for instance employment or social protection”, Milan Šveřepa explained.
In the framework of legal capacity, the strategy should talk about the right to vote, a right many people with intellectual disabilities in EU countries are still excluded from.
It should also push the topic of deinstitutionalisation and ending segregation: “The strategy should include clear targets on closing institutions and developing support for independent living and inclusive communities.”
Milan Šveřepa also talked about how the strategy needs to recognise the role of families in supporting inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities: “It needs to target the discrimination, poverty and exclusion those families face”, he stressed. “These circumstances not only are disgraceful for the people who care for their loved ones – they also directly fall back upon the people with disabilities themselves.”
Finally, “we need to move beyond the transition from one model of ‘care’ to another”, Milan Šveřepa said: “The ultimate aim is independent living, and this is much broader than just care.”
Click on a word which is in bold to read what it means.
Inclusion Europe went to a hearing of the European Economic and Social Committee.
It is made up of different groups that have to do with working.
The hearing was about the future of the European Disability Strategy.
The European Disability Strategy tries to get full rights
for people with disabilities in Europe.
The Committee made the hearing so people could talk about what the UN CRPD Committee
said about the European Union.
that it respects the equal rights of people with disabilities.
Inclusion Europe talked about the different ways that the European Disability Strategy
Milan Šveřepa spoke for Inclusion Europe.
Milan is the Executive Director of Inclusion Europe.
Milan said that all parts of the strategy should be accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.
This means that the strategy should be written in Easy-to-Read
and there should be Easy-to-Understand meetings.
The strategy affects people with intellectual disabilities.
So Milan said that people with intellectual disabilities should be able to have a say.
Milan also said that the strategy needs to talk about legal capacity.
This is because legal capacity has a lot of effects on how people with disabilities
make choices about their own life.
Milan said that this is important to help get equal rights for people with disabilities in many ways.
For example, their right to get a job and have money to live.
The strategy should also talk about the right to vote.
Many people with intellectual disabilities are still not allowed to vote in different
European Union countries.
Milan also said that the strategy should be used to help stop people living in institutions.
He said that the strategy should have clear goals on closing institutions.
This also means support for independent living.
The strategy should also talk about the role of families.
Many families do a lot to support people with intellectual disabilities.
For example, parents support their children.
Or siblings support their sister or brother.
Milan said the strategy needs to help stop the discrimination
and other bad things that families of people with intellectual disabilities face.
Milan also said that it is bad that family members of people with disabilities
are treated like this.
It is bad especially because they are caring for their loved ones.
It also affects people with disabilities badly when their family members are mistreated.
Lastly Milan says that we should not just think about the care of people with disabilities.
We should make sure that people with disabilities can live independently.
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.
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