Choice and control: the right to independent living

June
2012
This report examines how persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems in nine EU Member States experience autonomy, inclusion and participation in their lives.
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Choice and control: the right to independent living

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Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes the right to live independently and be included in the community. Drawing on the findings of interview-based research with persons with mental health problems and persons with intellectual disabilities, this report examines how they experience the principles of autonomy, inclusion and participation in their day-to-day lives.

The results show that although much has been done, more efforts are needed to ensure that persons with mental health problems and persons with intellectual disabilities have more choice and control over their lives and are included in the community on an equal basis with others. Most efforts to date have focused on deinstitutionalisation, but to achieve true independent living they should be accompanied by a range of social policy reforms in the areas of education, healthcare, employment, culture and support services. Key initiatives in policy, law and practice, identified in this report, can facilitate progress towards realising the right to independent living of persons with disabilities throughout the European Union.

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