On 14 November, BBC published an article on the conditions in the institution in Lechaina, Greece, where more than 60 disabled children are being held in purpose-built cages. At the same time, a supported living service in the same county, funded by the European Union, lies empty due to the lack of staff.
ENIL has asked our Greek members, who recently established the first Independent Living organisation in Greece “i-living”, to comment on the case. Their response is included below:
“Currently, there is no Independent Living scheme that is being implemented in Greece. Unfortunately, this situation makes institutions the only solution in the country, even when it comes to children. Furthermore, all the facts point to the fact that these institutions, which are the only service that the Greek government subsidizes, are operating like corporations without respect of human rights. Similar cases, like the most recent one in Lechaina, have been reported numerous times in the past, involving institutions that accommodate both adults and younger persons. Despite the repeated abuse of human rights, the Greek government keeps on supporting institutionalisation. Now is the time for European disability organisations to intervene by putting pressure on the Greek government to update its approach to disability and create conditions in which the rights of persons with disabilities in Greece will be respected, and where they will be provided with services in the community, in line with Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
ENIL condemns any form of institutionalisation of disabled people and advocates for the development of quality community-based alternatives to institutional care, such as personal assistance, to ensure everyone can live in the community.
To read the BBC article, please see:http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30038753
To read Autism Europe’s press release, please see: http://www.autismeurope.org/publications/press-releases/immediate-action-required-to-prevent-abuse-of-people-with-autism-in-greece.html