A group of people with banners during the Freedom Drive

Spring time symbolises great activity in ULOBA. 2022 is no exception as we work for better personal assistance, the incorporation of the CRPD and endeavour to help disabled refugees out of Ukraine. 

As we have entered spring 2022, ULOBA – Independent Living Norway is well within the busiest months of the year. The Independent Living Festival with the Disability Pride Parade “Stolthetsparaden” in June is soon upon us. We look forward to finally being able to celebrate as a movement and as people, physically together.  

A new fight 

We are also in the middle of a potential great change, changing the way Citizen controlled personal assistance will continue to be organised in Norway.  

In December 2021, a government appointed consultative committee launched an Official Norwegian Report, Norsk offentlig utredning (NOU), with suggestions on how Citizen controlled personal assistance should be managed. The public consultative committee did not come to agreement after the two year working period. In fact the majority of the committee members did not agree with the final report as the suggestions did not take the needs of its primary target groups, disabled people, enough into account. Neither was the proposal for a new PA scheme satisfactorily built on the idea of equality, empowerment and responsibility for one’s life rather than being passive recipients of a health service.  

Therefore four of the members, the representatives for the disabled population in Norway, created and proposed an alternative report and an alternative proposal for new legislation. As the consultation/hearing process has started, we now put all our efforts into putting pressure on the politicians of our government. And furthermore into campaigning, to spread the word on the alternative report. 

Implementing the CRPD 

An equally important fight is the implementation of the CRPD into Norwegian legislation. In 2021 a new government was appointed, and with them we saw renewed hope as they have made the implementation a commitment and a priority in the government platform. We now continue our work to put pressure on the government to see that political action must be taken to battle the ongoing discrimination of disabled people in Norway.  

A new crisis 

As mentioned at the outset, we look forward to finally being able to be in each other’s physical presence again. But in the aftermath of the global pandemic a new crisis has emerged. In the war between Russia and Ukraine we fear that once again disabled people are being left behind. We therefore issued a request made by our vice secretary general, Ståle Bratlie, that the Norwegian government use a substantial amount of the monetary support set aside to help the Ukrainian people, to help disabled refugees. ULOBA has also informed the government about our resources and willingness to help. We wish to help Ukrainian refugees to find work as personal assistants, and our travel company Freedom Express is at the governments disposal to bring disabled refugees out of Ukraine. Our members have also agreed to open their homes to disabled refugees.  

ULOBA – Independent Living Norway