Presenting the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

Presenting  the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

Presenting  the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

The project will entail a weeklong study session at the Council of Europe with the purpose of encouraging and supporting disabled young people to advocate for human rights in their countries and at European level. Participants will have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of disability issues and acquire skills to promote the views of other disabled young  people from their countries. The project team consists of 5 members who have the responsibility for choosing who will  attend the study session at the Council of Europe.

Miro Griffits – has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and is currently doing a Masters in Disability Studies. He runs his own company, which advises and consults on all issues to do with Disability Equality.  His work involves advising, negotiating and training, from government departments to charities and small regional networks. He is also a member of Equality2025 – the United Kingdom Government Advisory Body for Disability Issues.

Zara Todd – has a degree in psychology and a Masters in Central and Eastern European studies. She works for a Disabled Peoples Organisation called ALLFIE (the Alliance for Inclusive Education) supporting and training a group of  disabled young people to become researchers. Before that, she has worked with a number of disabled children’s organisations working on participation and involvement. Zara has worked on policy and campaign work including advising government, since the age of 11 both in the UK and internationally. Currently she is setting up a website with a friend in New Zealand to help disabled activists under 30 connect and share knowledge internationally.


News from Slovenia

News from Slovenia

This time we would like to tell you about about what has been going on over the  past few months in connection with our Independent Living programme. At the end of last year after a long battle lobbying politicians and raising public awareness, we finally succeeded in changing the Law on Ownership Transformation of the Slovenian Lottery, which changes the composition of the Council of the Foundation. The Foundation  funds disability and humanitarian organisations in  Slovenia from concession funds from the Slovenian Lottery. With this change we have succeeded in breaking the monopoly held by the traditional disability organisations  which are united in the National Council of Disability Organisations, and who previously had an absolute majority in the Council of FIHO.

This monopoly allowed  non-transparent and discriminatory distribution of public funds that were supposed to be earmarked. In strong support of our arguments concerning the admissibility of such behavior there were also several judgments of corruption found by  the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption and the Court of Audit. Despite the powerful propaganda by the NSIOS that the proposed changes will decrease the amount of money available for disabled people and their attempts to hold a referendum on the issue, they have been unsuccessfuland MPs overwhelmingly supported the changes. This means that a battle was won, but the war is not over yet.


Real progress on Independent Living in Serbia

Real progress on Independent Living in Serbia
  1. Three CIL members (from Sombor, Smederevo and Leskovac) are on different lists for local parliament elections in May 2012

The impact of having Gordana Rajkov as the first disabled MP has led more disabled people to become involved with politics, initially at a local level. Rajkov has influenced the disability movement and policy development at both national and level level, promoting the idea that  “disability could be the investment – not a burden”.

CIL members – Julijana Catalinac from Sombor, Dusko Savic from Smederevo and Svetislav Marjanovic from Leskovac are on the lists of three political parties and have very good chances to become members of local city councils. There are four other DPOs in other Serbian cities who have become politically active for the next elections in May 2012. (more…)

Presentation of the book on The family dimension of the UN Convention

Presentation of the book on The family dimension of the UN Convention

On the occasion of the International Day of Families COFACE will present together with Ádám Kósa (MEP, Chair of the Disability Intergroup) the new COFACE publication, The family dimension of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 May 2012, from 16:00 to 17:30.


Background information

With this publication, COFACE aims to highlight the family dimension of the Convention, contribute to its dissemination, support the implementation of the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 as well as the European Parliament’s report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities drafted by Ádám KÓSA MEP. It also aims at empowering European citizens living with disabilities and their families.

May 15, the International Day of Families is devoted to mark the relevance that the international community places on family issues as a fundamental unit of our society, as well as to highlight concerns about their situation in many parts of the world.

This day provides also an opportunity to reflect on the work started in 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people and societies around the world.

COFACE is delighted to invite you to attend this conference which builds on the experience of COFACE’s Disability Working Group as well as the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, discussing and debating the UN CRPD and its family dimension.

Please feel free to disseminate this information within your membership and contact details!

Registration is free and will be open until 7th of May. To obtain more information and register for this event, please visit:

For further inquiry, please contact:

We look forward welcoming you in Brussels for a fruitful debate!


Call for Input into an Online Youth Network

Call for Input into an Online Youth Network

We are two disabled young people, planning to set up an international online network for disabled young people aged 16-30, to network, skill and knowledge share. We believe that by providing an interactive space for disabled young people to do so will not only allow young disabled people from around the world to share and in turn, learn new knowledge and skills, but also that it will empower disabled young people to connect and create positive change in their communities. We intend this network to be built and run by disabled young people, for disabled young people.

We are contacting you because of your expertise and we would very much appreciate your input. We have created a questionnaire to help us design the site, which can be found at The survey is only 9 short questions and will close on 27 May 2012.

International Network for Young Disabled People

We also have a Facebook page that we will be using to keep in touch with people until the site is launched
Please forward this information on to anyone you think maybe interested in this project.

Erin and Zara

The annual meeting of Fundamental Rights Platform

The Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) had its two day annual meeting in Vienna. The annual meeting brings together members of the Agency’s network to work in partnership on fundamental rights. This 5th FRP meeting aimed to:

  • encourage a European debate on fundamental rights among different civil society organisations;
  • facilitate knowledge exchange and the sharing of of promising practices among Fundamental Rights Platform participants;
  • inform the work of the FRA about challenges and promising initiatives on the ground;
  • create opportunities for networking and further cooperation between civil society, the FRA and other actors.


Elected members to the Advisory Panel 2012-2013

One of the main events of this year’s meeting was the election to the new Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel supports the work of the Director of the FRA in organising and coordinating the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) and inputs into the preparation of relevant meetings and events.

The Panel is also a tool for ensuring the  good running of the Platform, suggesting, where necessary, adjustments and improvements to processes and procedures, and thus facilitating a vibrant dialogue between the Platform and the Director of the Agency. There were 24 candidates of which Jamie Bolling, the executive director of ENIL – the European Network on Independent Living was one. Jamie was supported by ENIL and EDF and was happy to be re-elected to the panel along with: Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska – Helsinki Foundation on Human Rights, Roger Kiska – Alliance Defense Fund, Allan Leas – European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Catherine Lynch – Irish Network Against Racism, Evelyne Paradis – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association – European Region (ILGA-Europe).

UK is Breaching Human Rights of Disabled, UN told

Source: Stephen Naysmith – Herald Scotland

A SCOTTISH campaigner will this morning (2nd April 2012) tell the Human Rights Council of the UN that the UK Government is in breach of its human rights obligations to disabled people.

In Geneva today, Dr Pauline Nolan, Policy Officer for Inclusion Scotland, will submit evidence to a preliminary hearing ahead of a planned review of the human rights record of 14 states, including the UK.

On behalf of the Campaign for A Fair Society – a coalition of more than 70 Scottish charities – Dr Nolan will warn the cumulative impact of welfare reform and cuts to benefits affecting disabled people will mean their ability to live a full life is impaired. In particular, she will argue that welfare changes undermine their right to be included in the community.


Able Tourism

Martin Naughton, Co-Executive Director of ENIL and Minister Phil Hogan TD. at the launch of ABLE Tourism on the 12th April 2012 in Dublin,

The new Q Mark in relation to ABLE Tourism was launched on 12th April 2012 by Minister Phil Hogan TD in Dublin, Ireland.

Able Tourism is the new Q Mark for accessibility created by Excellence Ireland Quality Association, the guardians of the Q Mark, in association with Fáilte Ireland. Their aim is to become global trendsetters by turning Ireland into the first ABLE destination in the world.

The Q Mark for accessibility ( ABLE) will be awarded to hotels, self-catering accommodation and caravan and camping complexes that have achieved the Q Mark standard in the key areas of ABLE Employees, ABLE customers and ABLE built environment.

Tourists who log onto to access ABLE destinations will be guaranteed to have accessible bedrooms, bathrooms, showers and kitchens. They will also benefit from telephones with induction cables and emergency accessible supports, such as vibrating pillows or personal alarms. Other services that will be provided include accessible car parks and routes into premises and easily identified lifts with accessible call buttons and wide doors that accommodate wheelchairs.

For more information on ABLE Tourism please visit their website here

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System)

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System) was developed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The ODIHR serves as a collection point for information related to tolerance and non-discrimination on the basis of information received from the participating States, and in co-operation with civil society and intergovernmental organisations. TANDIS was developed by the ODIHR’s Tolerance and Non-Discrimination department in order to share and promote practices and initiatives and to provide information on issues related to tolerance and non-discrimination throughout the OSCE region.

TANDIS gives access to:

  • Information received from the OSCE participating States, specialized institutions and other organisations
  • Country pages providing information on country initiatives, legislation, national specialised bodies, statistics and other information
  • Thematic pages with information related to different key issues
  • International standards and instruments
  • Information from the intergovernmental organisations including country reports and annual reports.

For more information on TANDIS please visit the website here

Introducing ENUSP

We are very pleased to introduce ENUSP to ENIL members. Please find some brief information about us below:

Introducing ENUSP

The European Network of (Ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP, took shape in 1991 to connect mental health service users and survivors of psychiatry across Europe, and to advance our human rights and interests. “(Ex-)user and survivor“ means a person who self-identifies as someone who experiences madness and/or mental health issues, and/or  has used or survived psychiatry or mental health services.

Today ENUSP brings together grassroots national, regional and local user/survivor groups and individuals across 39 countries – from Georgia to Portugal, Finland to Greece. Our network is 100%-owned and controlled by users and survivors, and  free from interference by others, including the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Users and survivors and their organisations across Europe are a diverse constituency. However, we are united by some common concerns and goals:

Human rights, dignity, equality.

Across Europe, people labelled as mentally ill are consistently denied our basic rights and dignity as human beings. This is particularly due to the existence of discriminatory laws that subject us to  (i) guardianship and (ii) forced psychiatric confinement and/or forced psychiatric treatment.  Though the exact nature of guardianship varies from country to country,  people under guardianship orders commonly lose their right to decide where and with whom they will live, to control their own money, to work, to marry, to vote and to stand for elections.


Independent Living Conference in Montenegro

Association of Youth with Disabilities Of Montenegro

We would like to inform you about an upcoming conference with the working title “Start up for Independent Living in Montenegro” that will take place in Bar, Montenegro on 24th and 25th May 2012. The conference will be co-organised by ENIL (European Network on Independent living), YHD (Association for Theory and Culture of Handicap) and UMHCG (Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro). YHD is a nongovernmental organisation from Slovenia that has run a programme of Independent Living for disabled people for more than 16 years now including personal assistance for disabled persons. UMHCG runs projects providing support and opportunities to disabled young people to their enhance personal, educational and professional development.

ENIL advocates and lobbies for Independent Living by promoting the values, principles and practices to make full citizenship of disabled people a reality. One of the priorities for ENIL is  to increase the involvement of disabled people within the Independent Living movement and we are therefore trying to increase the participation of disabled people throughout Europe.

This event is organised with the purpose of encouraging and supporting disabled people to stand up for their rights to live independently and for respect for human rights in individual regional countries as well as at a European level.

You are welcome to join us!




Role model: Meet Marina Vujačić from Montenegro

Marina Vujačić, was born on 1986 in Nikšić, Montenegro. She has a graduate degree in sociology.

  • What is your personal experience of disability?

For me, disability is a human rights issue. Or, disability is only one feature or characteristic that makes a person different from the environment in which she lives. I do not think that disability should be a determining factor of human life, and I think that it should never be seen as a problem or obstacle, but as a challenge that encourages us to be strong and fight.

  • How did you discover the Independent Living movement?

I discovered the Independent Living movement through the work of the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro. I first learned about Ed Roberts and the beginnings of the independent living movement inAmerica. Then I heard a wide range of experiences and witnessed the “fight” of people with disabilities for independent living in Montenegro.

  • Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?

Affordable housing and support services, perhaps because inMontenegrothese are not systematically addressed and NGOs need to work hard to improve the situation and achieve independence for people with disabilities.

  • Who has influenced you the most, and how?

I don’t think it was a person, but a book by Katarina Kerčov “The White Graves.” It has deepened my view of the world, changed my way of thinking.

  • What personal achievement are you most proud of?

The courage, fighting spirit, tolerance and understanding.

  • Do you have a favorite saying or proverb?

Never alone, always my own!

  • What motivates you to get up in the morning?

Every new day is a new experience, awaking is knowledge of the world. I like getting up with the thought that I should improve the quality of my life and to help others.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I watch movies, spend time with my ​​boyfriend, or friends, enjoy walking in the nature.

  • Who would be your ideal dinner guests?

I would like to meet Stephen Hawking, his way of life, thinking…

  • What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?

Never give up! Live your life; don’t let it live you!

Zero Project: Call for Good Policy and Practice

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is supporting the Zero Project in collecting good policy and practice examples for next year’s international conference and report. The focus is on the right of persons with disabilities to work and the deadline to submit nominations is 30th April 2012.


As explained by the Zero Project, good policy and practice examples can come from various areas, including recruitment, access to vocational training, supported employment, promotion of self-employment, equality law, early return to work, direct cash benefits, etc. Nominated practices and, in particular, laws or policies, should be either of a regional or national nature. They should have been in existence long enough to prove their effective implementation and, most importantly, deliver identifiable improvements.

The selected examples will be presented at the Zero Project Conference “The Right to Work: Good Policies and Practices for Persons with Disabilities” (to be held in early 2013 inVienna) and included in the Zero Project Report 2013. The conference is aimed at decision makers and Parliamentarians, and seeks to promote social innovation and development.


The Zero Project is a partnership between the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council, in order to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. ENIL would like to contribute to this initiative by spreading good Independent Living Initiatives. Forms for submitting good policy and practice are available from the Zero Project website at


Thank you for your cooperation!

Jamie Bolling – Executive Director of ENIL.

ENIL Nominates its Executive Director for the FRP Advisory Panel

ENIL Press Release  

Apr. 5th, 2012 

The European Network on Independent Living has nominated Jamie Bolling for a second term on the Fundamental Rights Platform Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel supports the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in the organisation and coordination of the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP), FRA‘s link to the civil society.

 Jamie, who has served on the previous Advisory Panel has explained her candidacy by saying:

Jamie Bolling (Sweden)

Jamie Bolling (Sweden)

 ‘I have promoted human rights and the stopping of discrimination for twenty years. As a young, educated, white American in Europe I did not experience discrimination. Later a wheelchair user, single mother and immigrant in Sweden I became aware of how society is formed from a view of normality with hierarchies excluding many. I could no longer take buses, enter public buildings nor was I talked to as an equal. The experience of discrimination became one that I since confront. I visit many countries, recently Bulgaria. I met people living in an institution. It is not right that these people are forced to live without choice in an institution. I have been an Advisory Panel member for the past two years. I hope to continue work against discrimination through the FRA and therefore need your vote!’

 To download Jamie’s CV, please click here.

 The Advisory Panel 2012-2013 will be elected during the 5th Fundamental Rights Platform meeting in Vienna on 19 and 20 April 2012. ENIL thanks all FRP members who will be supporting Jamie’s re-election to the FRP Advisory Panel.