Veronika Kallandar, an active member of the Swedish left party and the Swedish Independent Living movement, left her wheel prints and voice echoing in the European Parliament this month, when she spoke on Human Rights of disabled people and the right to personal assistance for all disabled citizens in Europe.
The event, titled “Human Rights: a reality for all persons with disabilities?” was organised by the European United Left and the Nordic Green Left European Parliamentary Group. Veronika was among several great disability activists, disability politicians and disability researchers who came together to promote access to human rights for all persons with disability. They spoke from their own experience of knowing the barriers they encounter in daily life.
Veronika’s political career started in STIL – the founding organisation of Independent Living in Stockholm. As a young woman, Veronika learned the importance of advocating for human rights, to be able to access society and to live a life with full participation. Together with her Swedish colleagues, Veronika has been defending the right to personal assistance in Sweden; a right that has often been threatened. After STIL, Veronika became a counsellor in her municipality Sundbyberg, as well as in the region of Stockholm. She also has a place in the national committee of the Swedish left party. Through her work, Veronika is making sure that disability rights remain high on the agenda and that the disability perspective is mainstreamed across all policy areas, such as justice, public transport or social issues.
The event was co-organized by three MEPs – Kostadinka Kuneva (Greece), Marisa Matias (Portugal) and Malin Björk (Sweden). Each MEP facilitated one of the three sessions, on political participation, justice and Independent Living. ENIL was represented at the event by Kamil Goungor, with Nadia Hadad and Adolf Ratzka also delivering presentations.
To read Veronika’s speech, please click here.
For more information about the Parliament event, please click here.