It has been a busy beginning of the year for the EU Funds for Our Rights Campaign. We are finishing a briefing on the use of EU Funds for Independent Living and preparing two events:
On 8th March, we are organising a Hearing on “EU Funds and Independent Living” at the European Parliament, where we will launch the briefing. The hearing will be hosted by MEPs Miriam Dalli (Malta), Jana Žitňanská (Slovakia) and Pascal Durand (France), and we will be joined by the UN Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility Ms María Soledad Cisternas Reyes. You can still register for the hearing here.
On 6th April, we are co-organising a Conference on Independent Living and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Paris, France. The conference will focus on the situation of disabled people in France – on advancing deinstitutionalisation and promoting the right to independent living. We are working together with CHA : Coordination Handicap et Autonomie – Vie autonome France, Gré à Gré and COVIAM, and are supported by ILI (Independent Living Institute) and CNCDH: Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme. The conference is also supported by MEP Pascal Durand, a member of the Disability Intergoup. For more details, please check the Facebook event .If you wish to take part in the Paris event, please, fill in this form. Please note that the working language the conference will be French.
This week, on 26th February, we published a Press Release about the situation in Hungary. Together with the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) and the Validity Foundation (formerly MDAC), we sent letters addressed to the Hungarian Government and the European Commission, asking them to suspend a major programme funded by the EU, which is taking disabled people from large into smaller institutions. We are concerned that this programme will result in the continued exclusion and segregation of disabled people in Hungary. You can find more information here and watch a short video recorded by TASZ. In addition to the letters, we will be meeting with the EC officials responsible for Hungary next week.
With organisations from the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) and the UN OHCHR – Regional Office for Europe, we contributed to the consultation about the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework at the EU level (post 2020). We have called on the European Commission and the Member States to ensure that EU funding is used to address human rights problems in Europe. We want to make sure that the EU continues funding the development of community-based alternatives to institutions, and facilitates access to mainstream services and facilities for disabled people. The joint position with the EEG is available here. The UN OHCHR position paper that we co-signed is being launched today and we will share it on our website.
We have regular contacts with civil society organisations (CSOs) at the national and European levels, as well with the European Commission and the European Parliament. We are planning this year’s regional meeting with our Campaign partners, which will take place in Brussels in June.
To support our Campaign, please like our Facebook page. We also encourage you to report any cases where you believe ESI Funds are not used to support independent living, but to maintain institutional care, or where the Government is not complying with their obligation to involve civil society organisations in all stages of ESI Funds use (the so-called partnership principle).
If you would like to take part in the Campaign, or wish to know more about the Paris conference or other activities, please contact the Campaign Coordinator Natasa Kokic at firstname.lastname@example.org.