Decree-Law No. 129/2017 of October 9(1) embedded the so-called “Independent Living Support Model” in the Portuguese legislation. Even though the model has not been applied yet, it has already been amended by Decree-Law No. 27/2019 of February 14(2).
This legislative scenario, which does not even respect basic Personal Assistance requirements, represents an abusive appropriation of the Independent Living concept. Calls that regulate the implementation of the model and the application of European Structural and Investment Funds introduce further misconceptions.
This framework is a disappointment to those who have been demanding and responsibly working for Independent Living in Portugal, either through advocacy and public affairs or by improving societal mindsets, through daily involvement within their local communities.
Almost a decade after the approval and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (3) and the Optional Protocol (4) by the Portuguese Government(5), the implementation of Article 19 on “Independent living and being included in the community” of the CRPD still remains a distant dream.
Following the publication of the General Comment No.5 (2017)(6), there is no excuse for national Governments not to apply real and accurate Independent Living requirements into legislation, budget allocation and practices.
Living independently and being included in the community are two intrinsically related principles, based upon choice and control, self-determination, dignity and freedom. Less than that is not enough.
Click here to read the full article of Fátima Paulo about (In)dependent Living in Portugal.
Image description: 7 young adults with T21, dressed with black t-shirts and blue jeans.
Photo credits: Associação Pais21 – Down Portugal, self advocacy group.
1.Decree-Law No. 129/2017 of October 9 (summary in plain English, without legal value) https://dre.pt/web/guest/pesquisa/-/search/108265124/details/maximized?res=en
2.Decree-Law No. 27/2019 of February 14 (summary in plain English, without legal value) https://dre.pt/web/guest/pesquisa/-/search/119556793/details/normal?l=1
3.Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-2.html
4.Optional Protocol https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crpd/pages/optionalprotocolrightspersonswithdisabilities.aspx
5.Assembly Resolution No. 56/2009 http://www.inr.pt/bibliopac/diplomas/rar_0056_2009.htm
Assembly Resolution No. 57/2009 http://www.inr.pt/bibliopac/diplomas/rar_0057_2009.htm
President Decree No. 71/2009 http://www.inr.pt/bibliopac/diplomas/d_71_2009.htm
President Decree No. 72/2009 http://www.inr.pt/bibliopac/diplomas/d_72_2009.htm
6.General Comment No.5 (2017) on living independently and being included in the community https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRPD/C/GC/5&Lang=en