Freedom Drive 2022, Press Release

In Brussels, 26 September 2022 — The Freedom Drive 2022 has begun! For three days, hundreds of disabled people from 28 countries all over Europe are gathering in Brussels to raise awareness about the continuing segregation of disabled people in institutional settings, including nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, orphanages and group homes. Segregation excludes disabled people from equal participation in society and access to rights, as codified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the European Union and all Member States. The continuing segregation and denial of independent living led to thousands of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently, those in institutions were targets in Ukraine war.

The activists will exchange views on the situation of disability rights in Europe, seek input from researchers and leading experts by experience, and carry their demands to policy makers in the course of a meeting with Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Equality, a hearing in the European Parliament and in meetings with their national MEPs.

The Freedom Drive Protest on 27 September, Brussels

To demand urgent implementation of Disability Rights Convention at EU level, a protest march will take place in Brussels on 27 September 2022, 10.00 – 13.00, starting in Parc Cinquatenaire. With tombstones and a coffin, symbolising increasing denial of rights to disabled Europeans, the protesters will pass the headquarters of the European Commission, the Berlaymont building. There, they will meet the Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, before continuing to the European Parliament.

We invite reporters, the staff of European Institutions and civil society organisations as well as all other interested people to the Freedom Drive Protest!

The Freedom Drive is one of the key campaigns of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) – held every two years since 2003. This 10th edition of the Freedom Drive is significant because it falls on the 50th Anniversary of the Independent Living movement. To consult the full programme, please visit Media inquiries should be directed to Florian Sanden, ENIL Policy Coordinator,, 00 32 2 893 25 83.

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. More information is available at:

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.