Present Board members (June 1996 to 1999)
- Chair: John Evans, Petersfield, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary: Adolf Ratzka, Sweden , email@example.com
Manfred Srb, Austria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regina Reichert, Germany
Bente Skansgård, Norway, email@example.com
Gordana Rajkov, Yugoslavia
Founding chair. Adolf Ratzka, Sweden
Immediate past chair: Horst Frehe, Germany, Fax 49-421-76 393
Other past Board members:
Elisa Pelkonen, Helsinki, Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Uwe Frehse (alias Frevert), Germany, Uwe_Frehse@ASCO.nev.sub.de
Marry van Dongen, Netherlands
Phil Mason, UK email@example.com
In April 1989 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg over 80 persons with
extensive disabilities coming from nearly two dozens of countries participated
in a 3 day conference on personal assistance. Druing this event the European
Network on Independent Living, ENIL, was founded.
ENIL was founded to address the under-representation of person with extensive
disabilities (i. e. daily dependence on personal assistance) in disability
politics, not the least within organizations of persons with disabilities.
The following document was adopted at a meeting of the European Network
on Independent Living at 'Het Timmerholt', Netherlands, August 31 - September
To build and co-ordinate a European Network on Independent Living.
Mandate of ENIL
1. To contribute towards the situation of disabled people through individual
2. To work on building a European Network on Independent Living (ENIL).
3. To carry out educational events on Independent Living, e.g. seminars,
workshops and development of resource materials.
4. To work on developing European concepts, principles and definitions related
to Independent Living.
5. To promote the philosophy and concept of Independent Living among political
parties, governments and other European bodies.
6. To seek funding for ENIL to carry out its activities.
7. To promote an understanding of Independent Living in Europe.
8. To facilitate information sharing on Independent Living.
Principles of Independent Living
While persons with disabilities use the term Independent Living, our goal
is to participate equally in our communities - exercising our self-determination.
These principals are to guide the work of ENIL:
- 1. Independent living is a process of consciousness raising, empowerment
and emancipation. This process enables all disabled persons to achieve equal
opportunities, rights and full participation in all aspects of society.
- 2. Disabled people must be able to control this process individually
and collectively. To achieve this goal we provide peer support and use democratic
principles in our work.
- 3. As equal citizens we must have the same access to the basics of
life including: food, clothing, shelter, health care, assistive devices,
personal support services, education, employment, information, communication,
transportation and access to the physical and cultural environment, the
right to sexuality and the right to marry and have children, and peace.
- 4. The Independent Living Movement must be a cross disability movement
addressing the needs of all disabled persons. In order for this to occur
we must rid ourselves of any prejudice we have towards persons with disabilities
other than our own and encourage the involvement of disabled women and other
underrepresented groups. Disabled children should be enabled by their families
and society in general to become independent adults.
- 5. Disabled people must obtain all the requirements for equalisation
of opportunities and full participation by defining their own needs, choices
and degree of user control.
- 6. The Independent Living Movement is opposed to the development and
maintenance of systems which promote dependency through institutional responses.
- 7. Disabled people must involve themselves in research and development,
planning and decision making, at all levels, in matters concerning their
These above principles were adopted at the ENIL meeting, 'Het Timmerholt',
Netherlands August 31 - September 3, 1990.
Definition of Independent Living
The above "Principles of Independent Living" were further elaborated
at the following ENIL meeting in response to the increasing use of the term
"Independent Living" by rehabilitation professionals.
Definition of the term "Independent Living" as adopted at the
ENIL-meeting, Berlin 7. - 10. October 1992:
Definition of Disability
A disability exists, if essential, personal and social experiences are influenced
by physical and mental limitations and their resulting discrimination.
Purpose of the Definition of Independent Living:
- 1. To challenge the misleading applications of the English use of
the term "Independent Living" and / or the native tongue translation
of the term "Independent Living".
- 2. To provide a means of identifying organizations which are controlled
by disabled people.
Definition of Independent Living
Any organization, governmental or non-governmental including organizations
for disabled persons, individuals and professionals who use the term "Independent
Living'l in their work have to comply with the following principles:
- a) To work actively for the development of full equality and participation
for all persons with disabilities regardless of type or extent of disability,
sex, age, residence, ethnic origin, sexuality or religion,
- b) to work so that people with disabilities can have the resources
to live independently, c) to recognize Independent Living as a basic human
- d) to share or exchange information, advice, support and training
in appropriate form, e.g. tape, braille, large print, free of charge for
persons with disabilities or, where there is a charge, to ensure that people
with disabilities have the resources to pay for these services,
- e) to cooperate with and support other organizations which belong
to the international Independent Living network or who support the goals
of the Independent Living movement.
2. Peer Support
- a) to use peer support as the foremost educational tool for sharing
information, experiences and insights in order to make people with disabilities
conscious of the audio, visual and cultural, psychological, social, economic
and political oppression and discrimination that they are exposed to,
- b) to make persons with disabilities aware of their possibilities
to reach full equality and participation,
- c) to empower persons with disabilities by assisting them to acquire
the skills to manage their social and physical environment with the goal
of full equality and participation in their families and society.
a) to oppose all types of institutions,stationary or mobile,
especially designed for persons with disabilities. An institution is any
public or private establishment, organization or service which creates special
segregated solutions for persons with disabilities in education, work, housing,
transportation, personal assistance and all other areas of life, which by
its nature limits disabled persons' possibilities to make their own decisions
about their lives or reduces their opportunities to participate in society
on equal terms.
b) In particular, establishments, organizations or services may not use
the term "Independent Living", if they promote or accept personal
assistance services that require the user to live in special dwelling units
or which deny or reduce the individual user's right to full choice and control
over his or her life by forcing the user to live by the routine of others.
4. Democracy and Self-determination
Organizations may use the term "Independent Living"
only, if all the following conditions are satisfied:
- a) if they are membership organizations based on democratic prlnciples
such as one person - one vote and
- b) if full membership with voting rights is reserved for persons with
disabilities only and
- c) if the organization as a practice favors disabled persons for positions
within the organization for both paid staff and volunteers including the
head of staff and
- d) if the organization as a rule is represented in negotiations, meetings
and the media by disabled persons.
- Organizations who do not comply with these conditions but want to
use the term "Independent Living" in their work have two years
to comply with these conditions.
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