On 14 November, ENIL launched its Shadow report on the implementation of Article 19 (Living independently and being included in the community) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the European Union. Produced in the framework of its initiative the European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL), the report 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.
The launch event, organised in Brussels, brought together officials from the European Commission and representatives of the civil society. After the presentation of the report by its authors Camilla Parker and Ines Bulić, Maria-Luisa Cabral, the Head of the Disability Unit at DG Justice, delivered her response to the report’s recommendations. A discussion that followed focused on the EU competence in relation to Article 19 and how far the European Commission can, and is prepared to, go in promoting access to independent living in the EU. Many of the participants expressed concerns about increasing institutionalisation of disabled people in the EU, the proliferation of small institutions (such as ‘small group homes’) and the effect of cuts on support services and allowances for disabled people.
The second part of the launch started with a presentation by Michael Fembek of good practices in Independent Living from around the world, selected by the Zero Project. Coordinated by the ESSL Foundation in Austria, and in cooperation with ENIL, the Zero Project 2015 has been working to identify best practices and policies in Independent Living and political participation. These will be presented at a conference in Vienna on 26 – 27 February 2015.
The launch ended with a panel discussion on the role of the EU in promoting independent living, with participation of officials from the European Commission (DG Employment, DG Justice and DG Regional Policy), the European Ombudsman, the UN OHCHR’s Regional office for Europe and the European Disability Forum. Much of the debate centred on the use of Structural Funds and whether the European Commission can guarantee that services which are institutional in character or where human rights abuses take place will not be funded.
The EU’s initial report on the implementation of the CRPD will be reviewed by the CRPD Committee in September 2015. Until then, ENIL will be working to ensure that its questions (as presented in the Shadow report) are adopted by the Committee and included in the list of issues, as well as participating in other events taking place during the April and September Committee sessions in Geneva.
The Shadow report is available in .pdf and Word format at: http://enil.eu/recommended-readings-2/enil-eccl-shadow-report-on-the-implementation-of-article-19-of-the-un-crpd-in-the-eu/