ENIL: Is the European Union competent to ensure access to independent living?

Photo: Graphic of people with different disabilities

Accessibility for everybody is very important for realizing an inclusive society; © Norbert Buchholz/ panthermedia.net

On 5 June 2014, the European Commission published the initial Report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the European Union. Now, the European Network on Independent Living – the European Coalition for Community Living (ENIL-ECCL) launched a shadow report, which seeks to provide the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with information that will be of assistance when assessing the extent to which the EU has complied with its obligations under Article 19 of the CRPD.

With hundreds of thousands of disabled Europeans still segregated in institutions and isolated at home, with no access to independent living supports, ENIL-ECCL consider Article 19 of key importance to the implementation of the CRPD as such. Four years after the ratification of the CRPD by the EU, personal assistance schemes and other community-based services are still lacking across the EU, and mainstream facilities and services – including education, health care and transport – are still largely inaccessible to disabled people in many Member States.

Despite the many positive initiatives by the European Commission, such as the adoption of the Disability Strategy 2010 - 2020 and the inclusion of the CRPD in the new regulations for the use of European Structural and Investment Funds (Structural Funds), ENIL-ECCL consider that more could have been done to ensure better compliance with Article 19. The report focuses on two areas – actions taken by the EU to ensure that Structural Funds are used to support projects that promote the right of people with disabilities to live and participate in the community and EU’s role in highlighting the importance of personal assistance schemes.

Entitled "Realising the Right to Independent Living: Is the European Union Competent to Meet the Challenges?", ENIL-ECCL shadow report proposes a number of questions the CRPD Committee should be asking when reviewing EU’s compliance with the CRPD in September 2015. It is hoped that any recommendations the CRPD Committee may adopt will help highlight the multifaceted barriers still faced by disabled people in the EU and put the right to independent living much higher on the EU agenda and that of the Member States.

REHACARE.de; Source: European Network on Independent Living

More about the European Network on Independent Living at: www.enil.eu
Click here for the PDF version of the ENIL-ECCL Shadow report on Article 19