"Back to Our Roots" Adolf Ratzka Plenary Presentation ENIL Strasbourg Freedom Drive September 6 2013

Adolf Ratzka, Independent Living Institute and Founding Chairperson of ENIL
ENIL Strasbourg Freedom Drive Plenary Presentation September 6  2013

Situation in 1989 (when ENIL was founded)

  • Almost all people with extensive disabilities live in parental homes or residential institutions
  • Very poor access to housing, public buildings and transportation
  • Poor self-representation in “our” organizations

 Situation 2013

  • Very few have real Personal Assistance, most depend on family or institutions
  • Access to housing, public buildings and transportation has gotten somewhat better
  • Organizations controlled and run by non-disabled people still work for our interests tak
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

 We have rights but don’t know how to use them

 Many other organizations also work for our rights. But we already have rights, for example the right to living independently and being included in the community, as stipulated by Article 19 in the UN Convention. But the convention by itself will not keep us out of residential institutions.

In order to turn rights into reality they need

  • to be part of a country’s legislation
  • operational definitions in regulations and standards
  • legal praxis with court decisions which allow us to claim our right
  • we need to show alternative solutions, good examples of practice

 What ENIL can do to turn rights into reality

  • develop legal expertise for defending our rights, for suggesting better laws
  • show good examples of practice through running pilot projects
  • educate, train and support ourselves to get each of us ready to go out and claim our new rights
  • more of us need to enter politics

 Let’s always keep in mind

  • rights are never given
  • rights must be used and claimed in everyday life
  • we need to be kind to each other, support each other also on a personal level
  • only together we shall overcome
English