2006-09-13: Spanska Independent Living activister okkuperade den spanska socialförsäkringens huvudkontor i Madrid i 25 tim i protest mot lagförslag.
Disabled activists from the Spanish Independent Living Movement terminated their occupation of the Social Welfare Headquarters in Madrid after Mr. Jesus Caldera, Minister of Work and Social Affairs agreed to meet with them this afternoon.
Twenty one members of the Spanish Independent Living Movement "Foro de Vida Independiente" have occupied the headquarters of the Social Welfare Administration in the capital of Spain (IMSERSO), Madrid since yesterday September 12. Thirteen of them are wheelchair users and with high levels of dependency. They demanded to be received by the President of the Spanish Government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, or Work and Welfare Minister, Jesús Caldera, in order to explain to them the lack of basic rights in the Project of Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Attention to the People in a Situation of Dependency Act. This law will be passed by the Spanish House of Commons very soon.
These activists are very concerned about the situation because their equal rights and opportunities are not guaranteed as Spanish and European citizens. Their demands about including real Independent Living in the law are supported by the United Nations as well as by the European Economic and Social Committee.
For months, the "Foro de Vida Independiente" (FVI) has tried to explain their demands to all political groups in Spain as well as to the Government representatives. They have obtained a lot of support by most of them, but they fear that the important issues about independent living are not going to be included in the Act.
Manuel Lobato, Spanish member of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) Board and co-founder of the FVI, has been one of the activists locked in. According to him, "we have been treated very badly in the building last night and today, but the important thing now is that this afternoon we are going to be able to explain our demands to Mr. Caldera. We are worried because we have found a lot of reluctance to include independent living principles in the new legislation. For instance, Personal Assistance is not clearly included as that; people with disability will have to pay at least 30% of the services (when it does not happen with other similar circumstances in the public social security system in Spain). The Spanish Government is holding back the independent living application while important institutions such as UN or the European Economic and Social Committee are requesting the opposite. The Spanish Government has the opportunity now to do it right and treat people with disabilities as full citizens once and for all. That is what we want to say to with Mr Caldera."
The "Foro de Vida Independiente" is a movement created in 2001 in Spain. It follows the Independent Living philosophy as a civil right movement created in USA in the 70's. Its members are people with disabilities and they organize via internet. They are members of the European Network on Independent Living.
For more information, contact FVI spokespersons:
José Antonio Novoa, 607 509 525
Antonio Centeno, 661 848 730
Alejandro Rodríguez-Picavea 679 945 995