Independent living and social services

For the European Disability Forum, the right of persons with disabilities to choose and make decisions in life must be inviolable. Disabled people want to freely enjoy their most fundamental rights and live independently in the community, as stated in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. People with disabilities should be able to enjoy good quality services that allow them, in the long run, to fully exercise their citizenship, their right to dignity and allow them to participate in society.

The full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in society is the main objective of the disability movement and a matter of basic human rights.

Today, a significant number of disabled people are forced to live in closed and inadequate institutions; they are subject to inhuman and degrading treatment and can not exercise a fundamental right: the right to choose over their own lives.

The European Disability Forum firmly believes that each individual has the right to live with dignity and to be respected by the person he or she is. EDF believes that the transition from inadequate closed institutions to high-quality, community-based alternatives for all is the best way forward for a real inclusion of people with disabilities.

In 2016, EDF adopted the following definition of ‘independent life’

“Independent living is the daily demonstration of human rights-based disability policies.” Independent living is possible through the combination of various environmental and individual factors that allow people with disabilities to have control over their own lives, which includes the opportunity to make real decisions and decisions about where to live, with whom to live and how to live Services must be available, accessible to all and provided on the basis of equal opportunities, free and informed consent and allow people with disabilities have flexibility in our daily lives, that the built environment, transportation and information are accessible, that there is availability of technical aids, access to personal assistance and / or community-based services. is for all people with disabilities, regardless of gender, age and the level of their support needs. ”

EDF contributed to the general comment of the UN CRPD Committee on Article 19 by presenting a joint contribution with the European Network for Independent Living, Europe of Inclusion and Mental Health Europe.

EDF is a member of the expert group on the transition from institutional to community-based care (EEG). The EEG is a broad coalition that brings together stakeholders who represent people with care or support needs, including children, people with disabilities, people who experience mental health problems, families; as well as service providers, public authorities and intergovernmental organizations. The EEG is made up of the following organizations: COFACE (Confederation of Family Organizations of the EU), EASPD (European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities), EDF (European Disability Forum), ENIL / ECCL (European Life Network) Independent / European Coalition for Community Living), ESN (European Social Network), Eurochild, FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organizations Working with Homeless People), Inclusion Europe, Lumos, Mental Health Europe, Mental Health Initiative, Open Society Foundations , OHCHR Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF. EDF contributes to the work of the EEG on the use of EU funds for independent living, in the European Semester process and on migration. EDF contributed to the training of European Commission officials on deinstitutionalization and national seminars on European funds for the transition from institutions to community care.

Social services
The European Union works for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within its borders. It is the so-called ‘internal market’. In the last two years, the EU has also embarked on the task of making the free movement of services a reality.

An adequate internal market for services would allow people with disabilities to benefit from quality services anywhere in the European Union, when traveling or living abroad. The EU should ensure that these services are of quality throughout the EU; that they are not subject to the same competition rules as commercial goods and services and that they are still accessible to all citizens.
The objectives of EDF are currently focused on ensuring that the needs of people in situations of dependency are taken into account in the development and provision of quality services.


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