The Strasbourg Resolutions


logo of European Network on Independent Living

The Strasbourg Resolutions

In April 1989, the first European Independent Living Conference was held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. The meeting's theme was Personal Assistant. The conference resulted in the founding of the European Network for Independent Living, ENIL. Here, the resolution adopted at the conference. Read the keynote address to this Conference.


We, disabled people from the Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Austria, Finland, Belgium, USA, Hungary, Federal Republic of Germany and Norway have come together from April 12-14 1989 at the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France. This conference has focussed on Personal Assistance Services as an essential factor of Independent Living, which itself encompasses the whole area of human activities, e.g. housing, transport, access, education, employment, economic security and political influence.

We, disabled people, recognizing our unique expertise, derived from our experience, must take the initiative in the planning of policies that directly affect us.

To this end we condemn segregation and institutionalization, which are a direct violation of our human rights, and consider that governments must pass legislation that protects the human rights of disabled people, including equalization of opportunities.

We firmly uphold our basic human right to full and equal participation in society as enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (extended to include disable people in 1985) and consider that a key prerequisite to this civil right is through Independent Living and the provision of support such as personal assistant services for those who need them.

The recommendations of the UN World Programme of Action (Paragraph 115) specifically state that "Member States should encourage the provision of support services to enable disabled people to live as independently as possible in the community and in doing so should ensure that persons with a disability have the opportunity to develop and manage these services for themselves".

Resolution 1 of the 43rd United Nations General Assembly (1988) reaffirms the validity of the World Programme of Action, and Resolution 2 stresses that "special emphasis should be placed on equalization of opportunities". Considering these and similar recommendations from both the European Community and the Council of Europe and to ensure that disabled people within Europe should have parity of equalization of opportunities we stress that these objectives must be achieved.

In support of the international movement of disabled people in Disabled Peoples' International which has a special commitment to setting up a network of initiatives for Independent Living as part of the implementation of equalization of opportunities, we call on governments and policy-makers to enforce the following principles:

1. Access to personal assistance service is a human and civil right. These services shall serve people with all types of disabilities, of all ages, on the basis of functional need irrespective of personal wealth, income or marital and family status.

2. Personal assistance users shall be able to choose from a variety of personal assistance service models which together offer the choice of various degrees of user control. User control, in our view, can be exercised by all persons, regardless of their ability to give legally informed consent.

3. Services shall enable the user to participate in every aspect of life such as home, work, school, leisure and travel and political life. These services shall enable disabled people to build up a family and fulfill all their responsibilities connected with this.

4. These services must be available long term for anything up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and as a short term, or emergency basis. These services shall include assistance with personal, communicative, household, mobility and other related services.

5. The funding authority shall ensure that sufficient funds are available to the user for adequate training of the user and the assistant, if deemed necessary by the user.

6. Funding must include assistants competitive wages and employment benefits, and all legal and union required benefits, plus the administrative costs.

7. Funding shall come from one guaranteed source, and to be paid to the individual wherever he/she chooses. Funding shall not be treated as disposable taxable income, and shall not make the user ineligible to other statutory benefits of services.

8. The user should be free to appoint all personal assistants, whoever he/she chooses, including family members.

9. Lack of resources, high costs, substantial or nonexistent services shall not be used as a rationale for placing an individual in an institutionalized setting.

10. There shall be a uniform judicial appeals procedure which works independently of the funders, providers or assessors, and is effected within a reasonable amount of time and enables the claimant to receive legal aid at the expense of the statutory authority.

11. In furtherance of all the above disabled people and their organizations must be decisively involved at all levels of policy making including planning, implementation and development.

European Network on Independent Living, ENIL