Welcome to this fall edition of the newsletter for the network of Disability Rights Defenders. The newsletter is a collection of articles on personal assistance in Europe with both the understanding of personal assistance, development and hinders in development. Accounts have been given by members of ENIL - the European Network on Independent Living. I hope you will enjoy this reading. If you have any questions contact me Jamie Bolling at the Independent Living Institute – Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org. It is the Independent Living Institute that manages the DRD network.
What is the Disability Rights Defenders network?
Disability Rights Defenders, DRD is a network of individuals and organisations interested in rights and jurisprudence concerning people with disabilities. The general purpose of the network is access to rights on equal conditions as others. The network disseminates and deepens expert legal knowledge of the rights to people with disabilities, disability organisations, legal professionals and academic legal programmes. The mutual sharing of legal knowledge strengthens the ability to use the law as a tool. We achieve this by bringing people together through our Facebook-group, Disability Rights Defenders Members share their experiences, methods and advice on how you use the law as a tool. DRD holds webinars, often in collaboration with the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL). They introduce the activities of the DRD-network and relevant themes and facilitate the exchange of information and experience between people with disabilities, organisations of people with disabilities, lawyers, legal professionals, legal students and others. One example, webinar in November 2019 focussed on “Law for accessibility”. The theme of the webinar was how you use the law for better accessibility as a key to an inclusive society. We addressed a case from the Irish high court on the right to vote for blind people and discussed the access legislation – Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and European Accessibility Act (EAA).
Jamie Bolling. September 2023
• Thank you for reading this fall edition of the Disability Rights Defenders Network Newsletter. We find it important to stay on top of what is happening in countries regarding personal assistance as this is an important service allowing many of us to live lives of self-determination with participation. The concept of Personal Assistance was brought to Europe in the 80s by leaders of the Independent Living movement who were also the founders of the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL. One of ENILs purposes is to promote personal assistance services and legislation, and other services and legislation that support Independent Living according to Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD). Since the 80s we have seen laws adopted providing personal assistance in European countries with Sweden being the first to adopt the LSS legislation making Personal Assistance a right for those in need. On the other hand, we also see cuts to services for disabled people which are both against the CRPD and are reducing self-determination and the possibilities to participation of disabled people.
In a next newsletter we plan to follow-up cases on personal assistance taken to courts to see the trends in this field. If you have a case you would want us to highlight please contact me at Jamie.email@example.com.
Thank you again for your interest and support to the Disability Rights Defenders Network.
Director of the Independent Living Institute in Sweden.