Image of the press release by ENIL - Open Letter to the European Commission regarding children with disabilities from Ukraine. ENIL contact information are noted. Date is June 17 2022

PRESS RELEASE by the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL

In an open letter to the European Commission, ENIL warns against the use of EU funding to provide institutional care to disabled children evacuated from Ukraine. In line with its legal obligations under The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, EU Funds have to be used to 1. Support families of children from institutions so they can care for their child at home, providing access to rehabilitation and personal assistance, 2. Reinforcing foster care networks by increasing the number of foster parents and providing access to housing and social benefits and 3. Provide access to mainstream and non-segregated services.

Due to the ongoing war against Ukraine, disabled children from institutions are being evacuated to EU countries. The Ukrainian government is implementing a memorandum of understanding with member states receiving children, committing them to provide institutional care and avoid placements in foster families. These conditionalities are put in place to facilitate the return of the disabled children to institutions in Ukraine after the end of the war. To accommodate the evacuees from Ukraine, EU countries are looking to expand their institutions with support of EU financing. Such procedures would be in violation of the EU´s international legal obligations.

The letter was sent in cooperation with our partners Disability Rights International (DRI) and the Validity Foundation.

The letter is addressed to Mr. Marc Lenaître, Director-General at the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and Mr. Joost Korte, Director-General at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL). Copies were also sent to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy, Nicolas Schmitt, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Katarina Ivankovic Knezevic, Director for Social Inclusion at DG EMPL.

Further information:

  1. The full text of the letter can be downloaded here.
  2. This link is providing access to reports by DRI von 1. The situation in institutions for disabled children in Ukraine, 2. The effects of the war on the institutions.
  3. In May an article about the problem was published on Euractiv.

For additional input please visit or contact:

Florian Sanden

ENIL Policy Coordinator,

About the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL

The European Network on Independent Living – ENIL is a Europe-wide network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL is a forum for all disabled people, Independent Living organizations and their non-disabled allies on the issues of Independent Living. ENIL represents the disability movement for human rights and social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, deinstitutionalisation, democracy, self-representation, cross disability and self-determination.

Contact information

ENIL Brussels Office vzw/asbl
Mundo J – 6th Floor
Rue de l’Industrie 10
1000 Brussels