European Union Legislation
Inclusion Europe works in all the fields of European Union competences that are relevant for people with intellectual disabilities. Although there are no exact figures about the scope and extent in which national policies are shaped by European law and policy, many researches show the importance of the European impulses in the national policies, up to 80% in certain areas. Therefore a constant monitoring of EU law-making process and close collaboration with the EU institutions is needed, to ensure that the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families are guaranteed and respected.
Inclusion Europe works mainly in the following areas:
- Actions to combat discrimination on the ground of disability
The Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) introduced has afforded EU citizens a common minimum level of protection against discrimination. The Directive implemented the principle of equal treatment in employment and training. However, people with intellectual disability and their families equally need protection from discrimination in all the other areas of life. Inclusion Europe stands together with the European disability movement in a request for a specific Directive that would allow for more targeted measures against discrimination on the grounds of disability, in line with the provisions of the UN CRPD.
- Fundamental Rights
The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out in a single text the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens. People with intellectual disabilities need to know about their rights and how to obtain remedy when their rights are violated.
- Children’s rights
The most significant barrier in enforcing children rights is the lack of community based services to support families of children with intellectual disabilities and the lack of inclusive opportunities. Inclusion Europe is following up the EU agenda for the Rights of the Child to be implemented taking into account the requirements of the CRPD.
Creating a sustainable environment with equal access to justice requires working with different types of institutions and with various actors, such as the police, the courts, prosecutors, social workers, prison officials, community leaders, paralegals, ect… Inclusion Europe supports the adoption of specific measures that can be taken to improve access to rights and justice for people with intellectual disabilities, such as legal awareness, access to information on rights and obligations, as well as support in administrative and judicial procedures.
People with disabilities should have effective access to in political and public life, by exercising their right to vote and to be elected. Besides restrictions on legal capacity, lack of accessible information, lack of access to polling stations, lack of awareness among political parties and polling station officials and prejudice about the ability of people to make decisions are huge barriers to participating in elections for many citizens with intellectual disabilities who cannot exercise their right to vote.
People with intellectual disabilities want a job and want to earn their living as much as everybody else. Many employers in Europe still exclude persons with intellectual disabilities from the workplace because of persistent myths, fears, and stereotypes. However, many experiences have demonstrated that people with intellectual disabilities can hold a job, provided some reasonable adjustments are made.
- Social Affairs (Social Protection and Social Inclusion, Poverty, Social Services of General Interests)
Discrimination, financial disadvantages, unemployment and social isolation are the main reasons why people with intellectual disability and their families are more vulnerable than others to social exclusion. Inclusion Europe wants this fact to be considered and taken into account in all activities against poverty and social exclusion at European level. One of the key topic is this area is the promotion and the development of quality community based services.
Inclusion Europe promotes inclusive education of children with intellectual disabilities to allow them interaction with non-disabled children. At European level, Inclusion Europe focuses on quality of education and exchange of good practices as well as the implementation of vocational or life-long learning trainings to offer real perspectives to young people or adults with intellectual disabilities.
To promote an inclusive society, people with intellectual disability must have equal opportunities to access any cultural activities and equal chances to exercise their creativity and display their art without discrimination.
- Consumer protection and Rights
Being ‘able to choose’ is a principle, which enhances the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities In recent years people with intellectual disability are seen more and more as ‘consumers’ of support services instead of recipients of charitable services. However, many people with intellectual disability are not aware that they are consumers with rights and responsibilities when they use support services. Inclusion Europe fights to ensure that mechanisms for the protection of consumers with intellectual disabilities are accessible and are able to take their needs and interests into account.
- Health policy and Health Care
Access to health care is a major concern for people with intellectual disabilities in all European countries. It must be included in mainstream EU policies in this area, from the healthy growing up of children to policies for active ageing. Inclusion Europe is therefore contributing to the mapping difficulties and discriminatory practices in access to health care and lobby to improve disability aspects in the EC health programme 2011 – 2013, formulating contributions to policy development with the issues at stake for patients with intellectual disabilities.
- Development cooperation
Inclusion Europe wants to better support people with intellectual disabilities and their families in developing countries in EC mainstream development aid programs and to provide associations with the necessary knowledge and contacts at national and European level.