Discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental health problems persists despite the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the EU and 21 Member States. Two new FRA reports capture the experiences of exclusion and discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems.
"Much still remains to be done to realise the rights of Europe's 80 million people with disabilities. The CRPD sets out an ambitious path to improve the situation of people with disabilities. The challenge now is to implement it," said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum. "FRA's research illustrates that the fundamental rights of people with disabilities are lagging behind legal guarantees, particularly as austerity measures begin to bite. This work provides the basis for discussions of practical measures that will make a difference to their daily lives."
1. Report: "Choice and control: the right to independent living"
The research looked into the experiences of independent living of people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental health problems in nine EU Member States, and found that they often face difficulties in their daily lives. The main problems include:
The report shows that for independent living to be successful, deinstitutionalisation needs to be coupled with social policy reform in education, healthcare, employment and personal support options. People with disabilities have to be involved in the development of these policies.
"People at the ministries and authorities should talk to people like me when they develop legislation and policy. They should ask us what we want and need, and not make our lives more difficult." (Man, 32, Bulgaria, interviewed during the research)
2. Report: Involuntary placement and involuntary treatment of persons with mental health problems
The second FRA report underlines that the laws regulating involuntary placement or treatment must consider fundamental rights in accordance with the CRPD. Although all EU Member States have minimum safeguards in place, FRA fieldwork points to overwhelmingly negative experiences of involuntary placement or treatment due to a:
Voluntary placement and treatments were viewed more positively.
Both FRA reports provide a basis for EU and Member States' discussions on how to protect and fulfil the rights of people with disabilities, and can be used to support them in fulfilling their obligations under the CRPD.
For the full reports see:
Notes to the editors:
For further information please contact the FRA Media Team
Tel.: +43 1 580 30 642