On 3rd December ENIL celebrated the International Day of disabled people by launching The Independent Living Research Network. The idea behind this long-term project is researchers who support the Independent Living philosophy to help ENIL create a database with information on their articles, reports, briefings, surveys and other publications or studies that promote Independent Living.
You can read more by following this link.
Today, on the day after the celebrations ENIL makes an overview of the numerous and exciting events that happened throughout Europe. The list of events below is by no means exhaustive, it only gives a flavour of the tremendous excitement that could be felt thanks to all independent living and human rights activist!
Actions by countries in alphabetical order:
The Office for the rights of persons with disabilities announced yesterday the intention of a number of NGOs to declare a Memorandum on cooperation in order to prepare an alternative Zero report on the realisation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in Belarus. More information available here.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Information Centre for Persons with Disabilities “Lotos”, in cooperation with the Coalition of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities of Tuzla Canton, organized a reception for representatives of government institutions, disability NGOs, the media and other stakeholders. Suvad Zahirović, Executive Director of “Lotos” stressed out that disabled people are still the poorest, most excluded and most discriminated group facing series of obstacles that society produces, preventing them to enjoy human rights and their involvement into community life. Photos and video from the event available on their facebook page.
Also individuals from Bosnia and Herzegovina were sending ‘proud, strong and visible’ selfies to ENIL!
Bulgaria marked 3rd December with various events – from protests in front of the Parliament to petitions collecting signatures for changing the policy in the disability field in the country. Video from these actions can be found here. Kapka Panayotova (founder of CIL Sofia and president of ENIL) gave a radio interview highlighting the problems of disabled people in Bulgaria. CIL Sofia also sent the translated version of the ENIL Myth Buster on Independent Living to policy and decision makers with the hope to raise awareness about the IL philosophy (available in Bulgarian here).
With the campaign “MapMyDay” the German non-profit organisation Sozialhelden e.V. and the World Health Organization (WHO) aimed to raise awareness and improve mobility. Their interactive campaign allowed inaccessible places world-wide to be marked on a virtual map by visitors of the campaign website. Visit it for further information by clicking here.
ExchangeAbility Germany (a project of ESN with the goal to increase the mobility of disabled students and to help them to organise their stay abroad) was active on the social media channels Facebook and Twitter throughout the day, promoting an online campaign in 5 steps: 1) Take a selfie; 2) In the caption write: ‘I support inclusive education’; 3) Use the hashtags #exchangeability #inclusiveHigherEd ; 4) Change the audience setting to Public; 5) Post the picture on the 3rd of December. Find out results from the campaign here.
Greece was active with different events. The Greek ExchangeAbility Team organized events on 2nd and 3rd December, inviting people to awareness raising, funny events in different places – Athens, Ioannina, Komotini.
Lithuania’s association „Lithuanian Disability Forum“ organised a conference in the Parliament where the Shadow report on implementation of the UN CRPD in Lithuania was officially presented. Together with the conference an exhibition revealing life in institutions was launched. Since the beginning of this year the photography exhibition „Identity illusion“ was traveling throughout different Lithuanian regions and called for debate about the reform of the social care system in Lithuania.
Latvia celebrated with many events throughout the country. One of them took place in the capital Riga at the Latvian National Library where the Latvian Ombudsman in cooperation with different NGOs held the Conference “The UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities Aspects in Latvia”. The goal was to report observations on the UN CRPD implementation in Latvia.
Norway’s CIL Uloba had an internal educational day for their staff. The decision for this kind of marking the day was chosen due to the release of Norway’s first shadow report on the UN CRPD. Uloba has been a part of the working group from civil society NGOs that prepared the report.
In Warsaw, Poland, Marek Sołtys (president of the Society of the Crazy Wheelchairman’s Friends – TPSW) organized two workshops combined with concerts. During the workshops Marek was showing people different kinds of disabilities and ways to social inclusion. Special attention was put on guide dogs and their role in the life of disabled people.
Portugal’s Independent Living Centre celebrated 3rd December at the Lisbon Municipality City Hall. Events included:
– Speeches from the Deputy Mayor of Social Rights, João Afonso, and from CIL members;
– Showing the documentary film “What is this of Independent Living” – about one of the major activist in Portugal, Eduardo Jorge;
– Debate about Independent Living, moderated by Vera Moutinho, journalist at the newspaper Público. You can watch her great video promoting IL with English subtitles by clicking here.
More information about these actions can be accessed on this link.
The campaign “A Different 3rd December” in Bucharest, Romania was organized by 20 active disabled people. Two national televisions invited members of their think tank to discuss disability, aspirations and policy making in Romania. Afterwards there was a flashmob on the Constitution square, where, together with VIP persons and politicians, members of the think tank targeted with arrows words like ‘discrimination’, ‘compassion’, ‘handicapped’. At the end of this event, a huge banner was shown with the slogan of the Constitution square: “Join the disABLE side of the Force”. At 15.00h, at the premises of the European Commission in Romania, an interactive debate on the situation of disabled persons gathered 50 participants. Key point was the need of a policy reform. The final event for the day had the slogan “The Good Means +”, aiming to provide four disabled Romanian students with scholarships which intend to support students in their educational attainments and to create the pathways for independent livelihoods. Photo albums from the event available here and here.
Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) had a public campaign promoting human rights principles. Throughout the day they were posting quotes to their Facebook and Twitter accounts (@DRPI global). The quotes were from DRPI’s interviews with disabled people, highlighting the ongoing violations of the human rights principles that disabled people face around the world.
Traditionally, every 3rd December, the president of Slovenia hosts official reception for disabled people. This year’s reception was also hosted by the president of Parliament and the Prime Minister of the country. Among the invitees were Elena Pečarič (founder of the YHD association) and Aleksandra Surla – a member of the ENIL Youth Network board. They spoke about the importance of personal assistance and raised attention to the fact that the president did not at all speak about the lack of personal assistance law – something which YHD has been fighting for in the last decade. Watch a video from the event here.
Sweden’s Cooperative for Independent Living GIL organised an interesting event on the parking lot of the Grand Theater in Gothenburg. All 70 parking places were painted with a wheelchair symbol. This aimed to draw the attention to accessibility and to disabled persons taking their rightful place in the society.
In Geneva, Switzerland the campaign “A Day for All” was launched highlighting how far we have come in recognizing and celebrating disabled people as another manifestation of diversity in our communities. For more info click here.
UK’s organisation ‘Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC) held a meeting in the Parliament and insisted that the new shadow minister for disabled people Debbie Abrahams and other Labour MPs will to be doing what independent living activists expect them to do in the future. Also, to honour the memory of the thousands of disabled people who have been pushed to their deaths by the Conservative government’s policies DPAC members were wearing black armbands and asking for a minute of silence during this meeting.
Not only Europe was celebrating 3rd December.
ExchangeAbility Turkey posted a lovely video which you can watch here.
People from Vancouver, Canada, also contacted ENIL spreading information about their event. Have a look at this link, if you want to know more.
Well done, independent living activists! ENIL says big THANK YOU and wish you a good follow up of your actions!!!
European Network on Independent Living – ENIL