This* was 2021 in #IncludeNews

Bringing you an overview of news, reports, policies covered in Include newsletter this year. Subscribe here not to miss anything next time around.

This* was 2021 in Include news

Bringing you an overview of news, reports, policies covered in Include newsletter this year. Subscribe here not to miss anything next time around.

* And a bit of other stuff, too. Oh, and this was 2020 by the way. (Read Include News for January 2022)



I hope you find this a useful reminder of some things that happened this year.

When it’s put together like this, it looks like a fair bit of work. Big Thank you! to everyone involved.

For me personally, September marked 5 years on this job. It is big honour and pleasure working alongside so much great people and organisations.





Andrea Westerlund becomes the chairwoman of Steg för Steg, the Swedish-speaking association for and with people with intellectual disabilities in Finland.

Children’s rights for all, a report:

Covid vaccines in easy-to-read

Employment campaign starts:



The European Committee of Social Rights condemns Belgium for violating the European Social Charter:

  •  The committee condemned the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FBW) for lack of efforts for inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities in education.

UN experts urge European Court of Human Rights to rethink vote ban for those with cognitive disabilities:

  •  “There now seems to be considerable unevenness with which many sides of the Council of Europe deal with inclusion and the rights of people with disabilities.”

  • At around the same time as the Court’s judgment, the Council’s European Committee on Social Rights issued a major decision which significantly advances the cause of inclusive education for children with disabilities across Europe.”

CRPD Committee consultations with input from Inclusion Europe:

The European Parliament approves report on employment of people with disabilities.



EU Disability Rights strategy is presented by the European Commission:

  • “People with disabilities should be able to participate equally in all areas of life. Living independently, learning in an inclusive environment, and working under appropriate standards are conditions that we need to ensure to all citizens,” says Commissioner Helena Dalli
  • We were happy to see our long-term priorities reflected in the strategy (supported decision-making, deinstitutionalisation, right to vote)
  • Easy-to-read version released on the same day as the strategy was good news too.

Belgium constitution has this new part: “Every person with a disability has the right to full inclusion in society, including the right to reasonable accommodation”. (more in French)

The European Commission presents Social Rights action plan:

Inclusion Europe Radio brings you the first set of stories and interviews.

The Lancet article about pandemic impact on people with disabilities refers our Covid report:

  • When social care is put on hold, cancelled, or reduced, people with disabilities are thrown back on the support of families if they have them. When it is not possible to attend day centres or voluntary projects, people with disabilities may be left with no one to meet.



Self-advocates report on activities during the pandemic.

We have to carry on fighting, carry on with the struggle that really is the most important thing,” says former employment Commissioner Vladimír Špidla.



The European Court of Human Rights made a sad and unfair decision about the right to vote for people with disabilities.

  • “Given the Court’s arguments (which amount to saying “this affects only small number of people”, and that “it happens in other countries too”) we have to wonder if the Court considers people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities to have human rights at all.”
  • Spoiler alert: It does not.

UN Rights experts call on Council of Europe to stop legislation for coercive mental health measures.



EU Child Guarantee is an initiative to lift children out of poverty.

  • EU countries must guarantee free and effective access to early childhood education and care; education and school-based activities at least one healthy meal each school day; healthcare.

Europe in Action conference about employment takes place online from Finland, organised by Tukiliitto with us.

Tukiliitto celebrated 60th anniversary after the conference.

All-Wales People First join Inclusion Europe as self-advocacy member.

The European Commission’s new guidance for European contracting authorities on how to introduce social criteria into public tenders.

Fundamental rights report 2021 is released.

  • The report (.pdf) on how the Covid pandemic impacts on people’s rights in the EU.
  • It report features prominently the European Parliament resolution to protect rights of people with intellectual disabilities, which started with our petition in 2020.


Ingrid Körner received the German Federal Cross of Merit for her more than 40 years of voluntary and extremely successful commitment to the equal participation of people with disabilities.

  • Ingrid Körner was president of Inclusion Europe in the past (more in German).

Constitutional Court in Czechia took an important decision to protect the rights of victims with disabilities.

Lebenshilfe Austria have new Secretary general: Markus Neuherz.

New book about deinstitutionalisation has a long interview about what Inclusion Europe does. Also in the book:

  • The situation of people with disabilities more generally has improved over time. However, this is not true for all people and more limited for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are more likely to be living in segregated or congregated settings and less likely to be experiencing real inclusion.
  • The importance of self-advocacy, self-determination and supporting people with disabilities to demand their rights is highlighted, whether at an individual level with regards to their own or at a local or national lobbying. People with intellectual disability are particularly affected by a lack of choice and control.



Why we care about education.

In Czechia, 9.5 thousand people with intellectual disabilities live in social services that do not meet conditions for quality of life and inclusion.

  • 11,000 people in cities over 50 thousand inhabitants have only 756 places available. (report in Czech, .pdf)

ENABLE Scotland wins 2021 Living Wage Scotland Outstanding Leadership Award.

  • The award is in recognition of its sector-leading commitment to raise pay for the social care workforce to the real living wage.


  • Inclusion Ireland announce new CEO, Derval McDonagh.
  • Steg för Steg celebrate their 25th anniversary.
  • Þroskahjálp, our member in Iceland, elect new board. The chairwoman of the board is Unnur Helga Óttarsdóttir.

Kapka Panayotova, independent living activist from Bulgaria, died.



Hear our Voices! self-advocacy conference sees 300 self-advocates from 9 countries take part.

Monika Zima-Parjaszewska, the president of PSONI, is this year’s winner of an award given for achievements to defend the rights and interests of people with disabilities in Poland.

The European Parliament approves report on petitions and protection of the rights of people with disabilities (includes easy-to-read part).



The European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference about employment, access to the internet, and children with disabilities.

  • Commissioner Helena Dalli talks about what the EU is doing for people with disabilities.

The European Parliament produced a new study on implementation of the 2015 concluding observations of the CRPD Committee by the EU.

How denying legal capacity impacts on life of people with intellectual disabilities.

  • This is a series of reports about legal capacity, looking at how it affects various aspects of life (topics in our 5Es campaigns).
  • So far we covered empowerment, elections, education.
  • New report this year is about employment.

CRPD Committee is doing guidelines on deinstitutionalisation.

Klapjob wins award for support to employment of people with intellectual disabilities.

Easy to read programs from Spain earn accessibility Zero Project awards:

Disability Platform meets for the first time.

  • Disability Platform is organised by the European Commission to foster collaboration, and exchange of information, examples and practices on disability issues based on EU strategy.
  • It brings together the European Commission, EU countries, disability organisations, and other NGOs.
  • Inclusion Europe is one of the participating disability organisations.

Inclusion Europe board meets.

  • Theresa Shearer becomes vice-president.

Our Employment campaign ends.

Jyrki Pinomaa talks to Slovenia’s public broadcaster, there’s nothing else to add.

By the numbers

1 million impressions across our social media channels.

24,338 followers on our social media channels.

  • That is double the number of followers since 2016.

42 media appearances

  • That’s up from 30 last year, and from 15 before that.
  • This includes articles about our work; interviews; articles written by Inclusion Europe; reports and books with significant quotes from our work.

28 contributions to events organised by other organisations.

  • We were invited and contributed to 28 different conference, seminars, trainings.

22 videos on our YouTube channel.

2 conferences organised.

1 new member

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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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