This week Inclusion International brought messages from people with intellectual disabilities and their families to the UN in Geneva to help shape the international understanding of Article 19 (living and being included in the community) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Inclusion International was at the UN in Geneva to participate in the Day of General Discussion (DGD), hosted by the UN CRPD Committee, on the right to live and be included in the community. In addition, Inclusion International hosted a side event, Inclusive Communities = Stronger Communities, with CRPD Committee members to highlight what Article 19 needs to consider to be realized for people with intellectual disabilities and co-hosted a side event, Follow the Money on government investments in Article 19.
Fadia Farah, Inclusion International Vice President spoke about the importance of families in supporting people with intellectual disabilities but also told the Committee how self-advocates feel about institutions. You can see a short clip of her speech here.
Senada Halilčević, President of the European Platform of Self-Advocates (EPSA) and Vice-President of Inclusion Europe, also took part in the panel discussing deinstitutionalisation and community-based service. She said ” I think regular education which includes and supports all students including the ones with severe disabilities is one of the major roads to independence and inclusion in the community of all persons regardless of their disabilities.” Our regional member Inclusion Europe released this statement.
In each event Inclusion International highlighted that, for people with intellectual disabilities and their families, Article 19 is not only about services and closing institutions; it requires us to think about how we build community. Inclusion International was the only group to highlight that families are a resource to support people to be included, not a barrier to inclusion. As the primary source of support for people with intellectual disabilities around the world, Article 19 cannot ignore the role of families and their need for support. Article 19 requires that governments and stakeholders invest in inclusive education, building self-advocacy and supporting families.