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“Nothing about us without us” is the motto of the disability movement. The participants to the meeting all agreed that this slogan should guide FRA work on the fundamental rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems.
This means that FRA research, networking and communication activities are done with and by persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problem, not about these groups of individuals.
The aim of the FRA disability meeting was to explore ways through which the different stakeholder groups can contribute to the protection and promotion of the fundamental rights of the two target groups, and to identify how FRA research findings can feed into this.
The right to vote
At the meeting, participants discussed the right to vote of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guarantees this right, but participants highlighted the gap between the law and what happens in reality.
Involuntary placement and treatment
The meeting participants also talked about involuntary placement and treatment – when people are made to be somewhere they do not want to be or receive treatment they do not want to have.
They talked about whether the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities totally forbids involuntary placement or not, and participants spoke about their experiences of involuntary placement or treatment.
Legal capacity – the capacity to make decisions that have a legal consequence, such as renting a flat or getting married – was the final topic that was talked about at the meeting.
Persons with intellectual disabilities spoke about their experiences of living with support, and about guardianship. Participants talked about the need to move away from guardianship (when someone takes decisions instead of you), towards supported decision-making (when someone helps you to take decisions).
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