This week, ENIL was contacted by Eduardo Jorge, a disabled activist from Portugal, who asked us to share information about his protest in front of the Portuguese Assembly on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December.
Eduardo lives in a nursing home and decided to protest in order to raise awareness about the violation of human rights of disabled people in Portugal. More specifically, their inability to get personal assistance and other support to live independently. Eduardo was pushed over the edge by the Government’s failure to implement a 2017 law. In his words:
“This promised Independent Life, created by Decree-Law No. 129/2017 of October 9, continues to remain on paper, so that I, and many other persons with disabilities, remain imprisoned in our homes and nursing homes against our will.”
Between the 1st and 4th December, Eduardo will be protesting in a bed placed in a cage, in front of the Assembly, and will not accept assistance from anyone but the President, the Prime Minister and one of the Ministers. They will be expected to provide personal care, to give him food and turn him in his bed – the basic support Eduardo, just like many disabled people, needs to survive.
This is not the first time Eduardo has decided to take drastic measures, and to put his life and health at risk to make a point. He has already been on a hunger strike, held vigils in front of the Assembly and been on a 180-km trip for 3 days. Despite this, he remains in an institution. The reason for choosing the 3 December, is, in his words:
“On December 3, the International Day of the Disabled people is celebrated, a day in which you are usually involved in celebrations throughout the country. However, we, people with disabilities, have very little to celebrate because the speeches do not match reality. In my case, I will celebrate in the most real way, showing what it is like to be dependent on others, the reality of those who have a disability. Even being aware that it will be a day of suffering, putting in risk even my health.”
ENIL will be covering Eduardo’s protest and we will help make sure that EU institutions and media are aware of the situation of disabled people in Portugal.
To find out more information about Eduardo’s protest, please click here.