About ENIL

Our vision and mission

ENIL works to strengthen the empowerment of disabled people

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is a user-led network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL is a forum for all disabled people, Independent Living organizations and their non-disabled allies on the issues of Independent Living. ENIL represents the disability movement for human rights and social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, deinstitutionalization, democracy, self-representation, cross disability and self-determination.

ENIL’s vision is of Europe where all disabled people are able to exercise choice and control over their lives, on an equal level with others; where they are valued members of the community and can enjoy all of their human rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

ENIL’s mission is to advocate and lobby for Independent Living values, principles and practices, namely for a barrier-free environment, provision of personal assistance support and adequate technical aids, together making full citizenship of disabled people possible. ENIL’s activities target European, national and local administrations, politicians, media, and the general society. ENIL works to strengthen the empowerment of disabled people, mainly through providing resources for peer support and peer-to-peer training. ENIL enhances the European disability sector by providing an arena for the sharing of disabled people’s experience of services and by providing economical, logistics and technical expertise on independent living.

ENIL is a pan disability organization, which means that we promote Independent Living for all disabled people. We work directly with disabled individuals, organizations (mainly Centers of Independent Living), politicians, media, the business world and any individual or organisation interested in learning about Independent Living history, values, principles and its practical application. We also work with non-disabled people and mainstream human rights organisations, whom we consider to be important allies to disabled people’s rights movement.

That which makes ENIL different from other European disabled people’s organizations is its make-up of grassroots organizations, guided by the human rights model approach; the dedication of us as members to promote, advocate and lobby for social change (empowerment of disabled people to take control over their lives); and the transferability of the Independent Living principles into applicable practices.

Brief history

First we take Strasbourg, then we take Brussels

Beginning of the organisation

ENIL is founded at the European Parliament in Strasbourg by over 80 disabled people from 18 different countries. The Strasbourg Resolutions were adopted, outlining the need for a new network on Independent Living.

What are the principles of Independent Living?

In 1990, at a meeting in the Netherlands, ENIL founders adopted a set of seven principles that were to guide the work of ENIL. The first principle states that Independent Living is a process of consciousness raising, empowerment and emancipation. It enables all disabled people to achieve equal opportunities, rights and full participation in all aspects of society.

Our priorities

ENIL is a globally recognized Disabled People’s Organisation

Our purpose is to develop and support the Independent Living movement in Europe through advocating for and/or providing:

  • Personal assistance services and legislation, and other services and legislation that support Independent Living.

  • Opportunities for full participation in society.

  • Watchdog activities: promoting and monitoring implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its General Comments, in particular on the right to live independently and being included in the community.

  • Empowerment and self-determination, reducing attitudinal and practical barriers.

  • Respect of human rights for disabled people through laws and policies compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its General Comments.

Contact us

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