Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
The European Union has money to spend
There is a report that says that some of this money
People with disabilities have the right to live independently and
This means institutions should be forbidden.
The Open Society Foundations published a report entitled “The European Union and the Right to Community Living - Structural Funds and the European Union's Obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”. At a time when the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Framework is being debated, the Open Society Mental Health Initiative has decided to study the use of these funds in promoting the right of people with disabilities to live and participate in the community as equal citizens. The report focuses on whether the use of Structural Funds by some EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe to build new or renovate existing long-stay institutions for people with disabilities is against the EU law.
Article 19 of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD) makes it clear that people with disabilities have the right to live independently and included in the community. This article also requires State Parties to take appropriate measures to facilitate their full inclusion and participation in the community. Since all EU members have signed and the majority have ratified the Convention, they are under obligation to cater to these requirements.
Moreover the European Union ratified the CRPD on December 23, 2010. Since the Convention is binding to the European Commission and Members States in matters of EU competence, Structural Funds fall under the scope of the CRPD.
The report also denunciates that the use of the Structural Funds to rebuild or build new institutions goes against EU law since it is a form of discrimination and denies people the right to reasonable accommodations.
As a final point, the report lists the obligations of the European Commission and Member States regarding the use of Structural Funds and makes recommendations concerning the future use of these funds. It is concluded that the Structural Funds Regulations should be interpreted in the light of the CRPD.
The Open Society Foundation is not the only organisation to emphasise the gains of using Structural Funds as a tool to finance independent living and the related services needed to execute this right.
The European Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights organised a conference entitled: “CRPD and the EU Structural Funds: the way ahead for independent living”. The conference that took place on May 7, 2012, focused, as the report aforementioned, on article 19 of the CRPD and the current and future use of Structural Funds. During the conference another report was presented. This report entitled “Getting a Life: Living Independently and Being Included in the Community” was presented by Professor Gerard Quinn of the National University of Ireland in Galway.