ENIL Press Release, 30 September 2015
The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) launches its 7th Freedom Drive under the theme “Independent Living: The Next Generation!”
On 29th September 2015 Freedom Drive started with national meetings between Freedom Drivers and MEPs, the ENIL General Assembly, then experience exchange and finally we closed the long day with a meeting of the ENIL Youth Network. It was a good start of a great event! You can see the program here.
Today, 30th September, hundreds of disabled people from over 20 European countries will march through the streets of Brussels with posters, megaphones, drums, flags and other props to reach the European Parliament (march map available here). The goal is to hand over the ENIL demands to the European decision makers and make them aware of the independent living activists’ concerns.
ENIL is a Europe-wide network of disabled people and their non-disabled allies working on the issues of Independent Living. ENIL proclaims that disabled people are capable of living according to their own choices and have the same possibilities as their non-disabled brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends, if they are provided with the needed support. This includes for example: growing up in families instead of institutions, going to mainstream schools, using the same transport means as everybody else and working jobs that are in line with one’s education and interests.
This 7th Freedom Drive is the first one to take place in Brussels. European decision makers will have an opportunity to meet disabled people from all over Europe and become aware of the gaps in the implementation of the UN CRPD and the need for legislation centered on Independent Living issues like deinstitutionalization, personal assistance and peer support.
On 1st October ENIL hosts a conference about independent living (with several sessions on different topics) lead by several frontline speakers including Maria-Luisa Cabral, Head of the Unit on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the European Commission. In order to exchange experiences and good practices several discussion groups focused on the rights of disabled persons will be organized. See the conference program here.
Let’s make this year’s Freedom Drive more successful than ever. Together, we will send a strong message to the European policy and decision makers on the vital importance of our human rights, our citizenship and our lives. Join us in this crucially important mission!
European Network on Independent Living – ENIL