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Inclusion Europe presents three submissions to the UN CRPD Committee "Inclusion Europe presenta tres propuestas al Comité de la CDPD de la ONU"


How can we make sure that people with intellectual disabilities can live their lives independently and free from discrimination? Two articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) are of utmost importance to achieve this goal:

Article 19 (Living independently and being included in the community) – This article deals with the measures states should take to ensure that people with disabilities can live independently.

Article 5 (Equality and Non-discrimination) – This article deals with the steps states should take to protect and promote equality and eliminate discrimination.

The UN CRPD is the first human rights convention to which the EU has become a party, and also many other European states outside of the EU have signed it.

The General Comments that will be adopted for Article 19 and 5 will further define what these demands mean – all the more important it was for Inclusion Europe to present our point of view to the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. After all, we need to make sure that these General Comments do not water down the actual meaning of Article 19 and 5.

In our submission regarding Article 19, we stressed these main points:

People with disabilities need to have the legal capacity to decide where they want to live. For people with intellectual disabilities, this also means that supported decision making needs to be an option available to them.

A choice must be a real choice, not a decision taken due to the lack of other options. States must make sure that alternative options to institutions exist and people need to be able to take an informed decision.

Institutions are also places where people supposedly live in the community, but in reality are not able to make choices about their lives. Under no circumstances should states be encouraged to further support existing institutions and hinder the deinstitutionalisation process.

Living in the community is especially important for people with complex support needs. Often, it is commonly assumed that people with complex support needs cannot live in the community, whereas they benefit greatly from being included

People with disabilities need support when moving from institutions to the community and states need to make sure that this support exists. This includes help for people who have suffered from violence in institutions.

Families are especially important for people with intellectual disabilities at different stages in life – in childhood and during their teenager years, and as well when they are trying to find their own way as adults. Parents and sibilings must get the support they need so they can in turn help their children or brother/sister to live independently and be included in society.

Inclusion Europe also did a joint submission together with the European Disability Forum, the European Network for Independent Living and Mental Health Europe, with some additional recommendations.

As for Article 5, we pointed out the following (amongst other things):

In many countries, people with intellectual disabilities are neither allowed to vote nor to stand for office in elections. Without this possibility, they cannot make their voices heard and make sure politicians take their interests into account. Apart from this, people with intellectual disabilities are not given any legal capacity. This puts huge obstacles in their way when they want to find a job, get married, have children etc.

Family members of people with intellectual disabilities are too often expected to be the only ones providing support. This frequently leaves them isolated, exhausted and unable to fulfill and enjoy other family roles (being a mother or father, brother or sister…).

Too many children and adults with intellectual disabilities cannot attend mainstream schools because of discrimination, which results in a lifetime of segregation.

Children and adults with complex support needs are one of the most vulnerable groups and discriminated in access to full participation in all areas of society.

You can find all the related documents below:

Inclusion Europe submission to the Draft General Comment No 5 on Article 19 – this includes an easy-to-read version

Joint submission to the Draft General Comment No 5 on Article 19

Inclusion Europe submission to the Draft General Comment on Article 5

The next steps will be:

The UNCRPD Committee will adopt the Final General Comment n°5 on Article 19 after it has taken into account all contributions sent by stakeholders
The UNCRPD Committee will organize a day of discussion on 25 August 2017 during its 18th session in Geneva to give an opportunity to people to present their views on equality and non-discrimination.

Inclusion Europe will closely follow the developments and keep its members updated on this important topic.

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