Independent living

Living in the Community

People with intellectual disabilities have the right to live included in society. They want to share their lives with neighbors, friends and relatives. They also want to live as independently as possible and not stay their whole life within their parents home. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides in its Article 19 for the right of all people to choose where and with whom to live. However, the reality is still very different for people with intellectual disabilities in many countries. Various studies show that the implementation of Article 19 is still far from being achieved in most countries of Europe. Therefore, Inclusion Europe places community living very high on its policy agenda.

Inclusion Europe has been working on promoting different aspects of living in the community for people with intellectual disabilities for many years. During this time, we have achieved a huge interest for and attention to this topic at European level. Many countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, have revised their policies and practices and started planning for a transition to community-based services. The detailed menu of this page provides direct links to different projects and activities in which we have been involved in the past decade.

At the level of European policy development, we started in 2000 with compiling information about the Human Rights with people with intellectual disabilities and their families in all new Member States of the European Union. From the National Reports and the European Comparative Report produced at this stage, the issue of institutions with unacceptable conditions emerged as a common issue in all countries studied at that time.

As a reaction to this issue, Inclusion Europe led the first European study on institutions and community-based living facilities. A large coalition of different stakeholders agreed on common recommendations under the title “Included in Society”. This coalition continues until today under the name “European Coalition for Community Living” (ECCL). To enlarge outreach and impact, we continued this policy work within an expert group convened by the former Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Vladimir Spidla. The recommendations developed by this expert group are presently put into practice by the project on “Common European Guidelines on De-Institutionalisation” of which Inclusion Europe is a partner. At a global level we contribute to Inclusion International’s campaign on Article 19.

In addition to this policy development, we have addressed different aspects of community living in various projects, such as:

Results and outputs of these initiatives are available from the detailed menu of this page.