“Discrimination hurts deep down inside!” said a young woman with intellectual disability when talking about her daily experiences. This group of European citizens and their families are often discriminated against and very vulnerable to social exclusion.

The Treaties allow the European Union to take the necessary measures to protect disabled people from discrimination. In 2000, the European Union adopted two Directives aimed at fighting several forms of discrimination in Europe. The two Directives, one on Racial Equality and one on Equality in Employment, have given EU citizens a common level of protection against discrimination. They have been transposed into national law in all EU Member States.

Inclusion Europe has monitored and accompanied this transposition process very closely. Our Position Paper on that issue includes the most important demands of our members. We have also worked on this topic within several projects, for example in “Fighting for our Rights”, aimed at informing people with intellectual disabilities, their families and their carers about their rights and how to use them. Unfortunately, still until today there are many examples of discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities in employment and occupation.

However, Inclusion Europe and our members are also convinced that protection against discrimination only in the area of employment is not enough. We campaign for a more extensive protection covering all areas of life as stipulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A draft “horizontal” Directive against discrimination in all areas of life is still being discussed, but must certainly live up to the standards set by the UN CRPD.

Finally, an aspect of discrimination that is very important to us is often overlooked in discussions about discrimination: the “discrimination by association” that especially family members of people with intellectual disabilities face. In many countries in Europe they are denied equal opportunities as well, be it in economic terms or in terms of full participation in society. Inclusion Europe continues to advocate for the rights and interests of those family members at European level.