Inclusion International’s President shares our Call to Action with the United Nations

On 11 June 2019, during the Opening Ceremony at the 12th Conference of State Parties in New York, our President made the following statement: 

“I’m Sue Swenson, President of Inclusion International. Inclusion International is the Global Network of People with Intellectual Disabilities and their families.

We represent over 200 members in more than 110 countries throughout the five continents. Our work is about advocacy and supporting our members to ensure the implementation of the CRPD and the 2030 Agenda.

Institutions remain one of the main challenges many countries must face to achieve the goals of the CRPD.

People with intellectual disabilities are still institutionalized, whether in large institutions, residential care, or group homes.

The main reason for having institutions is the lack of— or poor access to —services and supports in the community.

It is impossible for Governments to support two parallel systems.

The solution is to invest in community-based services and support for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families.

”We demand that all institutions are closed and that no institutional type settings are built again”.

This is one of our Calls to Action for this year. This demand has emerged from our members throughout the world who raised the deinstitutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities as one of their advocacy priorities.

In every country, families of people with intellectual disabilities are the main caregivers and supporters of their relative with intellectual disabilities. That’s why it’s important to include families in all decision-making processes and in  debates discussing the implementation of the CRPD.

General Comment N°7 on article 4.3 and 33.3 adopted last year recognizes organizations of families as Organization of Persons with Disabilities.

Supporting families means giving them advocacy tools and making community services accessible for people with intellectual disabilities starting from inclusive schools to accessible and respectful jobs.

The family is more than an instrument for decent public policy. The family is the most powerful human institution.

Families raise and nurture the next generation. They create the basis of belonging and community. Families carry our cultures forward.

A disabled child or adult can be a powerful member of any family, often bringing topics of human rights into the experience of daily living and creating an awareness of disability culture.

Sometimes, families need only a small support such as information,  but we need it desperately. Sometimes we need to learn to advocate for a a son or daughter’s rights.  Some families require very significant support.

Whether families are supported well or badly, everyone in the family is affected: mother, fathers, brothers, sisters, extended family, as well as the person with the disability.

It is no mistake that the most powerful language about human rights is rooted in the family.

We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

It is all we ask of you today.”