Nordic independent living organisations join forces to systematically exchange documentation and the development of the situation of personal assistance in each country. This way trends and threats can be identified in order to organise counter activity.
Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have similar welfare states, and have all ratified The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In the Nordic Council and other fora, Nordic politicians exchange ideas on political reforms on issues such as personal assistance (PA). Governmental investigations and policy papers on PA in Norway and Sweden compare PA in the Nordic countries.
“An affordable system, rather than best practice, often seems to be the approach to change in policy. The political discourse on PA seems to be similar in the Nordic countries. It is focusing on costs rather than opportunities and human rights”, Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm, Secretary General in Uloba – Independent Living Norway, writes in her invitation to co-found The Nordic Centre on Competence on Personal Assistance.
Nordic independent Living organisations which are members of The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) have been invited to co-found a centre which can contribute to document why a human rights approach to PA policy is needed. Responses so far have been positive. The centre is scheduled to be founded in August/September 2023.
NPA MIÐSTÖÐIN, STIL and Uloba, of Iceland, Sweden and Norway respectively, have already started to document the situation for disabled people who need assistance.
“Our experience is that using solid documentation and research results is important to achieve our political goals,” Vibeke Marøy Melstrøm states in her invitation.
She explains that the centre can be used in our common work for PA policy based on CRPD and best practice in the Nordic countries.
The first annual meeting of the competence centre will be held in 2024. The delegates will be invited to exchange documentation, experiences and ideas concerning personal assistance, and ongoing relevant research and policy processes. They will also discuss the centre’s activities and how it should be organised. Uloba has stared to prepare the first annual meeting.
In her invitation to the other Nordic Independent Living-organisations, Marøy Melstrøm explains what the centre might contribute to:
The Competence Centre is a post covid-19 follow-up of an initiative in Freedom Drive 2019 in Brussels to enhance cooperation among independent living organisations in the Nordic countries.
The next article in the Disability Rights Defenders Newsletter September 2023 is: