The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) celebrates the first European Day for Independent Living with the Walk of Shame through Brussels and other events across Europe. A part of the “Stop Disability Cuts” campaign, they aim to raise awareness of the impact of financial crisis on disabled people and to show that, despite all the cutbacks, they remain proud, strong and visible. In her speech to mark the occasion, ENIL’s Executive Director Jamie Bolling said: “One core message that ENIL wishes to send is that the power we disabled people have – when united together to uphold our rights in every European country – cannot be underestimated.”
Evidence shows that disabled people have become increasingly marginalised from society as a result of the economic crisis. Cuts to independent living and disability services have pushed many into further isolation, poverty and institutional care. The “Stop Disability Cuts” campaign, supported by the European Disability Forum, the European Foundation Centre and others, has inspired a number of events across Europe, highlighting the impact of cuts on disabled people and the long term consequences for the entire society. The central event – the Walk of Shame – takes place in Brussels and will see disabled people and their supporters marching to the European Parliament.
On the occasion of the first European Day for Independent Living, ENIL calls on the national governments and the European institutions to ensure the full ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. In line with Article 19 of the Convention, governments and the European Union should ensure personal assistance for all in need, safeguard support services for disabled people against the cuts, end the segregation of disabled people in institutions and provide inclusive education for disabled children and young people.
The Walk of Shame march starts at Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels (entrance Avenue de la Joyeuse) at 11:00. A press conference will be held at 14:00 – 14:00 at the Philanthropy House, Rue Royale 94 in Brussels. For press inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org