The Right to Decide: Action, Leadership & Meaningful Lives!

Inclusion International Regional Meeting in Tigre, Argentina

Interamerican Regional Meeting of Civil Society Organizations
Inclusion International Regional Meeting
Tigre, Argentina – May 21, 2015

Participants in this event discussed the challenges and opportunities in creating autonomy and self-determination in the lives of people with disabilities through the interdependence that comes from a fully inclusive life in community. Understanding that communities benefit greatly from the inclusion of citizens with intellectual disabilities this event contributed to joint strategies and actions in creating welcoming communities where individuals with intellectual disabilities are valued.

More than 300 participants attended this event, the majority from Buenos Aires and many of the provinces of Argentina, as well as from Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and Germany.

Inclusion International’s delegation included by President Klaus Lachwitz, Self-advocate Council member Luis  Gabriel Villareal, Officer Vanessa dos Santos, Council member Raquel Jelinek, and Coordinator for the Americas Ines Escallon.

As the framework for this Pre-Conference Day Inclusion International (II) introduced Independent But Not Alone: II Global Report on the Right to Decide. Providing information on the Right to Decide for people with intellectual disabilities as stated on Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the implications for people with intellectual disabilities, their families and civil society organizations. Presentations shared the work that Inclusion International (II) is doing on this subject and life stories of individuals included in their communities making supported decisions.

The information presented created the opportunity for small group discussions initially within people with intellectual disabilities, families and organizations to identify the challenges for each group to assume the right to decide for people with disabilities in their personal contexts.

The information built from these groups served as input for 5 discussion groups in which participants from the initial groups were mixed to answer the question: What can I do tomorrow to contribute to this paradigm shift?

Emerging Topics of the day were:

  1. The similarities in the challenges and obstacles in participating countries
  2. The need for information to understand the implications of the right to decide for people with intellectual disabilities and the possibilities today
  3. The need to understand and build strategies around the development networks of support and partnerships
  4. Best Practices on the provision of services and possibilities of transformation of service providers
  5. Subsidies/ disability benefits, that are important in Argentina, as obstacles in achieving autonomy and self-determination for people with intellectual disabilities.
  6. Identification of legislation as a major obstacle for advancing
  7. The difficulty in generating change

by Ines Escallon, Regional Coordinator for the Americas