Guardianship for people with intellectual disabilities: Discuss the topic in the European Parliament!
Millions of European citizens are deprived of their right to make decisions: Guardianship laws restricting the legal capacity and autonomy of persons with disabilities are widespread in the EU – and this needs to change! Following the leadership training Inclusion Europe held in September, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Maria Grapini and Olga Sehnalová drafted an Oral question on guardianship to be discussed in the Plenary session of the European Parliament on 5-8 February.
An Oral Question is an opportunity to raise a topic of interest and debate it in presence of all MEPs. Putting the question on the agenda for the Plenary session would make this topic known to a vast majority of MEPs who may not be very well acquainted with it. It would be a chance to show how guardianship laws negatively impact the lives of millions of people with disabilities, people with mental health problems and older persons across Europe.
The Oral question received the support of 48 MEPs, but in order to be discussed during the Plenary session, it needs to be approved by the Conference of Presidents, a body at the European Parliament composed of the President of the European Parliament and the presidents of its political groups.
Inclusion Europe jointly with the European Disability Forum, the European Network for Independent Living, Mental Health Europe and Autism Europe sent a letter to the Conference of Presidents urging it to approve the Oral Question for the February Plenary session.
In the letter, we pointed out a number of points including:
- The denial of legal capacity is contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the EU has ratified. The European Parliament has a key role to play in ensuring that every European citizen can vote in the next EU elections and that no one is discriminated based on their disability. The oral question offers an opportunity for highlighting this critical issue and for exploring how EU institutions can move forward on addressing it.
- Following closely after the 4th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities, approving the Oral Question would send a strong signal that the European Parliament is serious in its efforts to involve people with disabilities and to address issues affecting their lives.
- The European Parliament elections will take place in 2019, which adds urgency to the issue.
The Conference of Presidents will meet on the 18th of January to decide on the topics that will be discussed during this session.
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