ENIL and ECCL (European Coalition for Community Living) launched the Free Our People Now! campaign on the 3rd December 2009. It was launched on this day to coincide with the International Day of Disabled People. The campaign is to protest against the conditions of the two million plus disabled people (and children) incarcerated in institutions all over Europe without independent living or access to the right to determine their own life choices.
We all agree that there needs to be access to quality community alternatives and support for disabled people to exercise their rights and choices just as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities tells us in article 19; and we all know this is not happening.
An institution is not governed by size – it is not OK that large institutions may have disappeared from many countries only to be replaced by smaller ones with charming names. An institution should be recognised as any place in which people who have been labelled as disabled are isolated, segregated and/or compelled to live together.
Community living refers to all disabled people being able to live in their communities with the support they want and the opportunity to participate in everyday life, exercising their own self-determination and independence. Independent living is a right that is not being delivered for many thousands of people.
Free Our People Now calls on governments, decision makers, the European Parliament and the national funding agencies to stop putting money and effort into institutions and to develop good quality services in partnership with user-led cross disability organisations that have experience and knowledge of what independent living means.
The petition will be presented at the next Freedom Drive in 2011 but we need as many people as possible to sign now. This issue must be taken seriously and the more signatures there are – the more credibility it will have!
To add your signature to the campaign, please follow the link below: