Promoting the right to independent living of people with disabilities in Turkey

Photo: Graphic of people with different disabilities

Living together in an inclusive society with all different disabilities is one goal of the project in Turkey; © Norbert Buchholz/

In October 2014, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), in cooperation with the Centre for Independent Living Sofia (Bulgaria) and RUSIHAK (Turkey) started a 15-month long project aimed at promoting the right to independent living in Turkey. The project is co-funded by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey, under the Civil Society Dialogue scheme.

The project partners have set as the overall objective of the Independent Living Network Project (ILNET) the need to ensure that people with disabilities in Turkey are better informed and able to advocate for the right to independent living, by learning from the experience of the Independent Living movement in Europe and by using international and European human rights legislation and policies, and good practice.

In order to achieve this objective, the following specific objectives have been formulated:

(1) Establish an online platform for the ILNET to exchange information about projects, successful advocacy activities, fundraising possibilities between Turkey and other EU Member States;

(2) Raise awareness of decision and policy makers and disability CSOs on issues related to social inclusion and independent living, as a priority at the European level; in this way, strengthen cooperation amongst the CSOs, as well as between CSOs and public institutions;

(3) Draft the Roadmap for the implementation of Article 19 of the UN CRPD for Turkey and present it to the relevant authorities;

(4) Facilitate continued cooperation with RUSIHAK and other CSOs in Turkey with the CIL Sofia and ENIL.

The key target groups of the project are: people with disabilities, regardless of the type or level of their impairment (physical, visual, hearing, intellectual, mental health, etc.) and their organisations, policy makers at the national and regional level, other human rights organisations and the media.

Planned activities:
1. The project will start with a kick-off event in Turkey, hosted by RUSIHAK, which will present the objectives and activities to all stakeholders.

2. Two study visits to the Centers for Independent Living in Bulgaria and Ireland will help exchange knowledge and share experiences on self-advocacy, campaigning, Independent Living between disabled people from Turkey and the host organisations. This will mobilise the energy of the participants to start advocacy on the implementation of Article 19 of the CRPD back at home.

3. Further upgrade of the knowledge and skills to carry out this work will be acquired during the Independent Living summer school. The summer school will be held in Turkey, with the participation of disabled people from different EU Member States, on topics related to the rights of disabled people (based on the CRPD and the EU Disability Strategy).

4. A conference for the authorities and CSOs on the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care will be organised and used to support the Turkish Government in developing and implementing an independent living roadmap with the involvement of disabled people. The Draft Roadmap will be presented to the relevant authorities in the country and to the European Commission (EU delegation and DG Enlargement).

5. An online platform will be developed to exchange information about international disability legislation, human rights projects, successful advocacy activities, fundraising possibilities between Turkey and other EU Member States.

6. A manual on Independent Living, Personal Assistance, monitoring and advocacy will also be produced and adapted to the Turkish context, for use by CSOs and authorities.

7. The project will be finalised with a closing meeting to develop an action plan for the future of ILNET, coordinated by RUSIHAK, and to agree on a continuing cooperation with the CIL Sofia and ENIL. The project will run over the course of 15 months.

The project website will be launched in March 2015.; Source: European Network on Independent Living

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