Inclusion Europe and Eurochild call on authorities to recognise the equal value of children with intellectual disabilities

PRESS RELEASE: 25 October 2011, Brussels

The European Report “Children’s Rights for all! Implementation of the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child for children with intellectual disabilities” revealed that across the
whole of Europe, children with intellectual disabilities are highly vulnerable to discrimination,
neglect and exclusion.

“Very often, we are forgetting about the most important aim – guaranteeing the joyful childhood”
said Maria Herczog, President of Eurochild and a member of the UN Committee on the Rights
of the Child.

“The central problem is to get people to recognise the equal value of children with intellectual
disabilities. With the financial crisis, it turns out that children with intellectual disabilities are not a
priority. Governments use the financial crisis as an excuse to justify stopping progress in
implementing children’s rights, especially in realisation of inclusive education. We need
resources and funds but foremost political will and cooperation to make sure every child with an
intellectual disability is valued equally. Additional assistance is not a luxury, it is an essential,”
explained Maureen Piggot, President of Inclusion Europe.

Jan Jařab, Regional Representative for Europe of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights welcomed the initiative. At the conference, he pointed out that “members of the EU
should stop using the European Structural Funds to reinforce their child care systems in their
current form. They should instead use the Funds to launch fundamental reform of their systems
of child protection and care to ensure transition from institutions to community-based services”.

The report examines the protection of the rights of children with intellectual disabilities related to
education, health, abuse, participation, family support and community-based services. Although
a number of good practices in promoting their rights have been recorded, the systemic
approach to change is missing. The report concludes that the critical lack of information on
children with intellectual disabilities significantly impedes the real implementation and monitoring
of their rights.

The document was launched during the European Conference on Children’s Rights held on
20-21 October in Brussels. During the event, Inclusion Europe and Eurochild together with
representatives from 22 national disability and children’s rights organisations further called on
the regional and national governments as well as the European Union to:

  • Recognise the right of children with intellectual disabilities to live in the
    community in their families or family-type settings. Governments are urged to stop
    placing children in institutions and provide families with appropriate community-based
  • Create inclusive opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities to express
    their views and have them respected when decisions are taken on matters affecting
  • Take over immediate responsibility for multiplying existing experiences in promoting
    the rights of children with intellectual disabilities in a systemic manner.

The European Report together with 22 national reports can be found at:

About the project Children’s Rights for All!:

In December 2009, Inclusion Europe, Eurochild and the Charles University in Prague embarked
upon the research project to analyse the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child from the perspective of children with intellectual disabilities. The research, conducted
by highly-qualified experts in the EU member states, focused on 5 priority areas: health, abuse,
family and (de-)institutionalisation, education, as well as promotion, participation and
antidiscrimination. The initiative received funding from DAPHNE Programme of the European


Inclusion Europe (IE) is the European voice and representation of 70 member organisations of
people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Founded in 1988, Inclusion Europe has an
over 20-year track record of successful operation and defending the rights of its constituency.

Eurochild is the European network of organisations and individuals promoting the rights and
welfare of children and young people in Europe. Founded in 2004, the network has currently
109 Full and 36 Associate Members in 35 European countries.

For more information, please, contact:

Silvana Enculescu
Communications Officer
Inclusion Europe
Tel: +32 2 502 28 15
Fax: +32 2 502 80 10

Björn Becker
Information and Communication Officer
Tel.: +32 2 211 05 53
Fax: +32 2 511 72 98