The Independent Living Day Throughout Europe. Collage of events taking place in Poland, Hungary and Ireland

Independent Living Day

On the occasion of European Independent Living Day 2023, many Disabled People’s organizations and activists joined us to demand the right to independent living, to raise awareness about the barriers Disabled People face on a daily basis, and to deinstitutionalize.

Many of you have joined us through local events in Portugal, Montenegro, Poland, Ireland, Norway, Hungary and other countries across Europe. We have gathered below some of the activities that took place on May 5, 2023.

In this article, you learn more about the activities that took place in Montenegro, Poland, Ireland and Hungary. We thank our members for their contribution to this article.


The ceremony for celebrating the European day of Independent Living was held on 5. May 2023, at the Independence Square in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. The ceremony was organized by the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDM), and the event was public and available for everyone interested to participate.

“We are the only country in the region that does not have the Law on sign language. It’s not that we are lacking experience, or that we lack comparative practices and knowledge, but clearly there is a lack of willingness to take responsibility for a population that is very often placed in its own ghettos, because they were simply forced to rely on each other and neither to someone else besides these groups. Until now, there is no sign language translation service in the institutions of the system, nor are there any trained people who use sign language.”

Marina Vujačić

“The ceremony included the public speeches of the Executive Director of AYDM Mrs. Marina Vujačić, the young activist for the rights of persons with disabilities, Borjana Radulović, as well as Mr. Dejan Tmušić, from the Association for Paraplegic of Cetinje. The event started with the ‘simulation’ and presentation of the usage of Sign Language, performed by Mr. Dejan Tmušić, without the interpretation on standard language so that those present remain deprived of information, as is the case with the persons with hearing impairment.”

Source: UMHCG, Portal Vijesti


In Poland, many PA users, their family members, friends and allies took part in the symbolic funeral of the Polish PA law which took place in Warsaw on Saturday, 13th May, in Warsaw, Poland. The total amount of participants was about 100.

Photo credits: Piotr Kiembłowski

“The funeral procession with real empty coffin, accompanied by the drummers were marching from beneath King Sigmund Column to the front of the Presidential Palace. The coffin symbolised the legislation initiative of the President Andrzej Duda concerning the PA law. After two years of work in the President’s Chancellery , without any consultations with the disabled persons and their organisations, the draft of the project was very incoherent with the CRPD and General Comment 5. Because of that, the representatives of PA users, including layers and experienced activists, prepared a very detailed proposals of amendment to the draft. The proposal has been officially delivered from the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs to the President’s Chancellery. The thousands of potential PA users in Poland are still waiting for the President’s decision about the final shape of the legislative proposal concerning PA and delivery it to the lower chamber of Polish parliament (Sejm).

The lack of the President’s decision probably will cause that the parliament will not have the possibility the PA law during the actual cadence. During the protest, no representative of the Chancellery or the Ministry decided to talk with our representatives. None of the mentioned institutions has officially comment our protest.”

Source: Lukasz Orylski, ENIL


On May 5th, Independent Living Movement Ireland organized an event to launch their book “Conversations About Activism and Change”, based on a podcast series capturing the voices of disability activists from across Ireland.

“Activism is not easy, it’s a commitment, and I wanted to know what motivated a whole generation of disabled people to come together and change things.”

Sarah Fitzgerald Author of the book

“Conversations about activism and change is the first step in proudly reclaiming some of the narrative of the societal changes that Disabled People have brought about in Ireland, and ways that Disabled People are leading change in the 21st Century. Featuring pieces from eleven disabled activists, Conversations About Activism and Change is a unique book capturing the voices of Disabled People and their Movement for Change.

ILMI’s Vice Chair Selina Bonnie said “Ireland is a land of storytellers but until now, most of the Irish disability rights movement’s stories have only been shared orally, transmitted mainly from activist to activist, or have been lost when treasured comrades have passed.”

The journey for Disabled People’s equality in Ireland pre-dates the formation of ILMI and much has been achieved by Disabled People in making Ireland more inclusive. However, much of that memory hasn’t been documented or recorded and many of the projects, campaigns and actions led by Disabled People are often unknown by younger Disabled People looking to further advance their rights. This book is part of reclaiming that “hidden history” about the struggle for the liberation and self-determination of Disabled People in Ireland. Des Kenny ILMI’s Chairperson said “Disability rights are now an obligation to be implemented by the State since Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in 2018.” Jacqui Browne ILMI Board member added “This book provides an insight into the experiences and issues that Disabled People went through and It also presents an opportunity for younger disabled people to keep the torch alight”

Book: Published by Martello Publishing, this book will be available to buy or order in all good bookshops

Source: Nina Byrne, Independent Living Movement Ireland


The Hungarian Association of Persons with Intellectual Disability (ÉFOÉSZ) organized a self-advocacy conference on the European Independent Living Day. 70 persons with intellectual disability and supporters celebrated in person and many joined online. The speakers were self-advocates from Hungary and Austria, including board members of Inclusion Europe and Steering Group members of the European Platform of Self-Advocates (EPSA).

The main topics of the conference were self-advocacy and supported decision-making. Self-advocates talked about what kind of support they need in order to make decisions and speak up.

After the speeches a roundtable discussion took place, which was about supported-decision making and good support.

Éva Molnár, a self-advocate who participated at the discussion said the following: “For me independent living means, that I can make decisions about my life. We need good support to live independently. A good supporter lets people make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, not just people with intellectual disability.” – Éva told, than talked about the times she was under guardianship. She said she felt free and capable since her guardianship had ended. She can do things, she could not have imagined doing earlier, because she has not had the chance to try.

Source: Tibor Czakó, ÉFOÉSZ (The Hungarian Association of Persons with Intellectual Disability).