Presenting the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

Presenting  the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

Presenting  the european project team for the supporting disabled young people to become future leaders of the independent living movement programme

The project will entail a weeklong study session at the Council of Europe with the purpose of encouraging and supporting disabled young people to advocate for human rights in their countries and at European level. Participants will have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of disability issues and acquire skills to promote the views of other disabled young  people from their countries. The project team consists of 5 members who have the responsibility for choosing who will  attend the study session at the Council of Europe.

Miro Griffits – has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and is currently doing a Masters in Disability Studies. He runs his own company, which advises and consults on all issues to do with Disability Equality.  His work involves advising, negotiating and training, from government departments to charities and small regional networks. He is also a member of Equality2025 – the United Kingdom Government Advisory Body for Disability Issues.

Zara Todd – has a degree in psychology and a Masters in Central and Eastern European studies. She works for a Disabled Peoples Organisation called ALLFIE (the Alliance for Inclusive Education) supporting and training a group of  disabled young people to become researchers. Before that, she has worked with a number of disabled children’s organisations working on participation and involvement. Zara has worked on policy and campaign work including advising government, since the age of 11 both in the UK and internationally. Currently she is setting up a website with a friend in New Zealand to help disabled activists under 30 connect and share knowledge internationally.


Presentation of the book on The family dimension of the UN Convention

Presentation of the book on The family dimension of the UN Convention

On the occasion of the International Day of Families COFACE will present together with Ádám Kósa (MEP, Chair of the Disability Intergroup) the new COFACE publication, The family dimension of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 May 2012, from 16:00 to 17:30.


Background information

With this publication, COFACE aims to highlight the family dimension of the Convention, contribute to its dissemination, support the implementation of the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 as well as the European Parliament’s report on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities drafted by Ádám KÓSA MEP. It also aims at empowering European citizens living with disabilities and their families.

May 15, the International Day of Families is devoted to mark the relevance that the international community places on family issues as a fundamental unit of our society, as well as to highlight concerns about their situation in many parts of the world.

This day provides also an opportunity to reflect on the work started in 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people and societies around the world.

COFACE is delighted to invite you to attend this conference which builds on the experience of COFACE’s Disability Working Group as well as the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, discussing and debating the UN CRPD and its family dimension.

Please feel free to disseminate this information within your membership and contact details!

Registration is free and will be open until 7th of May. To obtain more information and register for this event, please visit:

For further inquiry, please contact:

We look forward welcoming you in Brussels for a fruitful debate!


Call for Input into an Online Youth Network

Call for Input into an Online Youth Network

We are two disabled young people, planning to set up an international online network for disabled young people aged 16-30, to network, skill and knowledge share. We believe that by providing an interactive space for disabled young people to do so will not only allow young disabled people from around the world to share and in turn, learn new knowledge and skills, but also that it will empower disabled young people to connect and create positive change in their communities. We intend this network to be built and run by disabled young people, for disabled young people.

We are contacting you because of your expertise and we would very much appreciate your input. We have created a questionnaire to help us design the site, which can be found at The survey is only 9 short questions and will close on 27 May 2012.

International Network for Young Disabled People

We also have a Facebook page that we will be using to keep in touch with people until the site is launched
Please forward this information on to anyone you think maybe interested in this project.

Erin and Zara

The annual meeting of Fundamental Rights Platform

The Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) had its two day annual meeting in Vienna. The annual meeting brings together members of the Agency’s network to work in partnership on fundamental rights. This 5th FRP meeting aimed to:

  • encourage a European debate on fundamental rights among different civil society organisations;
  • facilitate knowledge exchange and the sharing of of promising practices among Fundamental Rights Platform participants;
  • inform the work of the FRA about challenges and promising initiatives on the ground;
  • create opportunities for networking and further cooperation between civil society, the FRA and other actors.


Elected members to the Advisory Panel 2012-2013

One of the main events of this year’s meeting was the election to the new Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel supports the work of the Director of the FRA in organising and coordinating the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) and inputs into the preparation of relevant meetings and events.

The Panel is also a tool for ensuring the  good running of the Platform, suggesting, where necessary, adjustments and improvements to processes and procedures, and thus facilitating a vibrant dialogue between the Platform and the Director of the Agency. There were 24 candidates of which Jamie Bolling, the executive director of ENIL – the European Network on Independent Living was one. Jamie was supported by ENIL and EDF and was happy to be re-elected to the panel along with: Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska – Helsinki Foundation on Human Rights, Roger Kiska – Alliance Defense Fund, Allan Leas – European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Catherine Lynch – Irish Network Against Racism, Evelyne Paradis – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association – European Region (ILGA-Europe).

Able Tourism

Martin Naughton, Co-Executive Director of ENIL and Minister Phil Hogan TD. at the launch of ABLE Tourism on the 12th April 2012 in Dublin,

The new Q Mark in relation to ABLE Tourism was launched on 12th April 2012 by Minister Phil Hogan TD in Dublin, Ireland.

Able Tourism is the new Q Mark for accessibility created by Excellence Ireland Quality Association, the guardians of the Q Mark, in association with Fáilte Ireland. Their aim is to become global trendsetters by turning Ireland into the first ABLE destination in the world.

The Q Mark for accessibility ( ABLE) will be awarded to hotels, self-catering accommodation and caravan and camping complexes that have achieved the Q Mark standard in the key areas of ABLE Employees, ABLE customers and ABLE built environment.

Tourists who log onto to access ABLE destinations will be guaranteed to have accessible bedrooms, bathrooms, showers and kitchens. They will also benefit from telephones with induction cables and emergency accessible supports, such as vibrating pillows or personal alarms. Other services that will be provided include accessible car parks and routes into premises and easily identified lifts with accessible call buttons and wide doors that accommodate wheelchairs.

For more information on ABLE Tourism please visit their website here

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System)

TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System) was developed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The ODIHR serves as a collection point for information related to tolerance and non-discrimination on the basis of information received from the participating States, and in co-operation with civil society and intergovernmental organisations. TANDIS was developed by the ODIHR’s Tolerance and Non-Discrimination department in order to share and promote practices and initiatives and to provide information on issues related to tolerance and non-discrimination throughout the OSCE region.

TANDIS gives access to:

  • Information received from the OSCE participating States, specialized institutions and other organisations
  • Country pages providing information on country initiatives, legislation, national specialised bodies, statistics and other information
  • Thematic pages with information related to different key issues
  • International standards and instruments
  • Information from the intergovernmental organisations including country reports and annual reports.

For more information on TANDIS please visit the website here

Struggle for personal assistance in Finland

Finland has a plan to close down all institutions for people with intellectual disabilities by 2020 and that by 2016 no more than 500 persons will be living in institutions.  The close-down of these institutions is a necessity for Finland to be able to ratify the UN convention of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Social Ministry is currently working on a plan for the transition from institutions to individual housing, with other services, for persons with intellectual disabilities. The JAG Association in Finland has attended a hearing to discuss the draft plan and has also commented in writing on the plan and on the system for personal assistance in Finland.

The JAG Association has in its response to the Social Ministry underlined the importance of that the municipalities, who are responsible for arranging services for persons with disabilities, have enough resources to make sure everyone who is moving out of an institution gets appropriate service and support in their own home. JAG has also argued that personal assistance is often the most suitable service in order for disabled persons to be able to live an independent life, on the same terms as everyone else and that it is extremely important that persons with intellectual disabilities are not excluded from the right to personal assistance.


From institution to independent living

National plan for development of social services that can replace institutional care

Social ministry 8/2 2012

ISBN 978-952-00-3208-1


The chair as art-form!

An original exhibition is currently on show in the metro station Botanique in Brussels: Chais’Art. The theme of the exhibition is the wheelchair as artistic icon, giving a new and amusing take on the subject. The artist is Cleon Angelo, himself a wheelchair user, working in collaboration with Benedict Gastout, graphic designer. The aim of the exhibition is to put the spotlight on the issue of accessibility for wheelchair users. Chais’Art has experimented with different variations of the international symbol for accessibility for wheelchair users. The images are humorous, but they are also surprising and thought provoking.



The chair is an art-form:  it rolls on for us, it sticks with us, it bends over backwards to take us to the ends of the world, but we can only go to the places where the chair can pass. It is part of our difference… in search of recognition.

 The art of the chair deserves to be known, to be honoured, tasted … The art of the chair announces, influences and denounces! Chais’Art is for disabled people who only want one thing: to take their place in society. Chais’Art is available on different themes: mobility, accessibility, Brussels, Europe, art, famous people … and is the brainchild of two artists who exhibit their work for the benefit of the association Autonomia asbl. (more…)

The right of people with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community

“ The right of people with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community”

Issue Paper commissioned and published by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

Download it here in PDF Format

ENIL on the Joint Committee on Human Rights Report on Independent Living and UNCRDP

Rights of disabled people may be at risk, says Human Rights Committee 

The disability movement/Independent Living movement of the UK is very pleased about the outcome of this report. It was exactly what we needed after almost two years of challenging the government on how the cuts and austerity measures were affecting disabled people’s ability to live independently.

The report is highly critical of the government’s measures in cutting back services, and the ILF (Independent Living Fund) which is putting disabled people at severe risk for the future.

This is by far the most comprehensive critique of an EU Member State policies which are affecting disabled people severely. No other governmental level report has come out in Europe highlighting the impact the austerity measures are having on Independent Living. This report can be very useful for the Independent Living movement throughout Europe in challenging their current austerity policies.

The question is whether the UK government will take this seriously or just ignore it. (more…)

Reminder: Free online seminars on UNCRPD

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) are hosting a series of four free online seminars. The aim of these seminars is to relate the Disability Convention to what people with disabilities in Scotland have said are the key issues that they face. To date three seminars have taken place; “Rights in a Recession”, “Getting Justice” and the third one on “ Independent Living”.

The third one on ‘Independent Living’ was presented by Independent Living Scotland and the SHRC. This seminar focussed on what the Convention says about Independent Living. It then moved on to give an overview of Independent Living Scotland and it’s history. Finally, it looked at Independent Living and human rights and how to make these rights a reality.

Recording of the seminar of 13th February 2012 about Independent Living, with Pam Duncan from the Independent Living in Scotland Project

The last seminar in the series is on the 12th March 2012, focusing ‘Children and Young people’ and will be streamed live between 12-1.00pm GMT. lt will also be available online after the seminar finishes.

All these seminars are still available online for free along with the presentation slides used in the seminars.


Follow them on twitter:





Collaboration request for INNOSERV project – report good examples of social innovation

February 1, 2012 marks the beginning of the Social platform on innovative social services or the INNOSERV Project  funded under the European Commission’s Seventh framework programme.  The Project is a unique opportunity for the identification and acknowledgement of innovative services that generate postive outcomes from a service user perspective.  ENIL has found it important to make our voices heard in order for this project to succeed and make a real difference for Independent Living.  We hope you will cooperate with us in this endeavor.

The Project is an attempt to survey the potential for innovative services in the health, education and welfare sectors. This by relying on a combination of academic/policy input, civil society perspectives and empirical knowledge.

Ultimately, information on selected innovative services will be diseminated broadly in easy to read formats that allows communication accross cultural and geographic boundaries, along with evaluation of policy making trends.  Together, practical examples and an overview of academic research will provide substantial input in the EU 2020 strategy.

Partners in implementation  of the project include reputable academic institutions and CSO networks in Europe: Heidelberg University, University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, University of Roskilde, Diakonhjemmet University College, Oslo, Budapest Institute, Instituto per la Ricerca Sociale, University of Southampton, Universite Paris, Pantheon-Sorbonne, European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), Solidar, and ENIL.

ENIL has through this project a pending task that requires support from the network:

The ENIL network must identify typical innovative practices from the fields of health, education and welfare. ENIL needs to provide at least 16 examples.  So If you have innovative service examples that you would like to share, please just contact us as soon as possible and no later than February 24, 2012, COB.

All questions regarding this initiative should be directed  to  Sanja Nikolin the ENIL researcher for the project at and please copy in Jamie Bolling the director of ENIL.



EPP Hearing – Tourism and Accessibility on Thursday, 9 February 2012

EPP Group Public Hearing on
Tourism for all, a challenge to win!
Accessibility of destinations, accommodation and information within the new Tourism Strategy of the EU
Thursday, 9 February 2012
9.00 – 12.30
JAN 6 Q 2

Agenda EPP Hearing T&A 09.02.2012


e-mail to stating full name, date of birth and home address, as well as place of residence, if different

ENIL at the ‘International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities’

On January 22 and 23, 2012 the International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities took place for the first time in Vienna, Austria with ENIL participating through Jamie Bolling, the ENIL Executive Director (see her speech). It was part of the Zero Project – zero as in zero barriers (see ) with over 250 stakeholders from all over the world. Future legislation for a better world was the main theme. The conference was organised by the Essl Foundation in cooperation with the World Future Council and its founder Jakob von Uexkull, as well as by UniCredit Bank Austria.

One of eight selected laws was the Swedish Act Concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments. This is the only legislation covering personal assistance as a right to persons in need.

This law is used as a model within the Independent Living movement. Already since 1993 it legally entitles persons with extensive disabilities to cash payments for the purchase of self-directed personal assistance services. The Act concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments sets out the right for persons with considerable and permanent functional impairments to “good” as opposed to basic living conditions through the provision of ten measures for special support. The measure constituting the right to personal assistance has set the foundation for a demand-driven and competitive personal assistance market.

“Independent Living means having the same range of options and the same degree of self-determination that non-disabled people take for granted,” explains Adolf Ratzka, Founder of the Institute on Independent Living. “The Act needs to be further developed: recent restrictive court interpretations highlight the need for re-formulating its original intent and to expand its scope. Especially during the present European Year for Solidarity amongst Generations and Active Ageing we need to promote a wider independence of elderly people from institutionalized living.”

Download Jamie Bolling’s speech Powerpoint


European Commision. Public consultation with a view to a European Accessibility Act

Date: 29/02/2012

Objective of the consultation

The Commission is reflecting on the development of a European Accessibility Act containing measures to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the European market. This consultation is part of the preparatory data collection that will underpin the assessment of the impact of the measures.

Target group(s)

All citizens, including persons  with disabilities and older people, enterprises and organisations of public and private sector as well as civil society in EU Member States, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries.

Period of consultation

  • Opening date: 12 December 2011
  • Closing date: 29 February 2012

How to submit your contribution?

The consultation is published on the Commission consultation website “Your Voice in Europe”. The consultation site is accessible and follows web accessibility standards.

Response to the consultation can be submitted online by clicking here.

The questionnaire is available in English. The questionnaire is also available in document format and can be requested for reasons of accessibility. (more…)

Recommended reading. ‘Handicapping Rules: The Overly Restrictive Application of Admissibility Criteria by the European Court of Human Rights to Complaints Concerning Disabled People’

‘Handicapping Rules: The Overly Restrictive Application of Admissibility Criteria by the European Court of Human Rights to Complaints Concerning Disabled People’
By Constantin Cojocariu

This article analyses the way in which admissibility rules related to standing and victim status can in certain circumstances exclude persons with disabilities held in mental health institutionsfrom the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights by denying them accessto proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights. These rules compare unfavourably to rules employed by other international human rights bodies. The European Court of Human Rights has, to some extent,recognised the difficulties facing persons with disabilitiesin accessing justice, both in itssubstantive interpretation of the Convention, and in its use of proceduralrules. Similar elasticity should be demonstrated in relation to rules on standing and victim status, including by recognising standing to sue on behalf of disabled victims, in certain circumstances, to public interest groups, even in the absence of specific authorisation. The European Court of Human Rights’ case-law involving child victims provides a meaningful precedent for such an approach. Another rationale that finds jurisprudential support in order to overcome procedural obstacles
is to rely on “the interest of human rights” in order to proceed to a determination on the merits. To the extent that procedural rules at the national level are more favourable to claimants, that should weigh heavily in the applicants’ favour in the adjudication on admissibility in Strasbourg.


Download full article

Recommended reading. ‘Responsible Reform. A Report on the proposed changes to Disability Living Allowance’

‘Responsible Reform. A Report on the proposed changes to Disability Living Allowance’
This report is a comprehensive presentation of the most relevant evidence available on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the proposals to replace it with a new benefit, Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
It gathers together existing information and analyses over 500 group responses to the Government’s Response to Disability Living Allowance reform (obtained under FOI request 989).
Download the report.

Research: LGTB Young disabled persons.

This research aims to find out how disabled young people (aged 16 – 25) see themselves, their identities, and their social networks. These networks may contain a variety of people, organisations and services that are an important part of their lives.

There are a few ways in which you may be able to help:

1. Are you disabled LGBT young people aged 16 – 25?.

2. Are you a disabled person between 16-25 years old?

3. Are you a professional who work with/ support disabled young people (aged 16 – 25)?

If you want to take part in this research…

Please send an email if you have any questions about anything on this information sheet, and if you would like to take part in this research!

Research information leaflet for young people

Research Information Sheet for professionals

The photograph book by Hallgrímur Guðmundsson and The Independent Living centre in Iceland

Disabled people are often seen as sick, abnormal and broken and are therefore excluded from having basic human rights to inclusive education, work opportunities on the open labour market, move away from home, have a family, participate in politics, travel overseas and enjoy culture and leisure. This leads to disabled people being unseen and excluded and making it difficult to have impact on society’s attitudes and fight for equal rights. The situation of disabled people therefore becomes the object of professionals and media that often present disabled people as heroes or victims. Heroes for a simple thing as waking up in the morning or victims because of the “terrible destiny” of not being able to walk, see and hear or having an IQ that is socially accepted.

The Independent Living Centre in Iceland, which is a personal assistance cooperative run and controlled by disabled people, has decided to take responsibility and take action for change and will publish a photograph book named Frjáls/Free on the 10th of December, which is the international day for human rights. (more…)

ENIL Hearing on Cuts at the European Parliament

Save the Date!

9 February 2012, European Parliament


On 9 February 2012 ENIL is holding a hearing at the European Parliament entitled ‘Defend the Right of Independent Living – How the EU’s Austerity Policy Is Undermining the Lives of People with Disabilities’. The hearing is hosted by the European United Left / Nordic Green Left Parliamentary Group.


ENIL and its partner organisations will use the hearing to present evidence about the impact austerity measures are having on people with disabilities in the EU, and will set out actions that can be taken by the European Parliament and the European Commission to address this situation. These will include the ENIL Proposal for the European Parliament Resolution on the effect of cuts in public spending on persons with disabilities in the EU.


The hearing will take place on 9 February, 15:00 – 18:30, at the European Parliament inBrussels. Programme will be available by the 15 January 2012. To register, please write to the ENIL Secretariat at (please include your nationality, date of birth and passport/ID number, so we can arrange your access into the Parliament). Unfortunately, ENIL cannot cover participants’ travel or accommodation costs.


Read the ENIL Proposal

DOC Format

PDF Format


Link to a related article: