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Publication date: 7 June 2012

Choice and control: the right to independent living

Across the EU, the prevailing economic crisis is leading governments to cut public spending. Hard choices need to be made on what to spend limited financial resources," said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum. "In these hard times we must remember that investing in efforts to enable people with mental health problems to live independently is not a luxury. Governments should not allow the considerable progress made over recent years to enable people with disabilities to live within their community to be eroded by austerity measures."

The FRA’s work on the rights of people with mental health problems has shown that there is still a long way to go to fulfil these rights in practice, despite progress having been made. This can be seen in two recent FRA publications that focus on the right to independent living, and on involuntary placement and treatment. They highlight the difficulties that people with mental health problems face in their daily lives and the need to accelerate the transition from institutional to community-based living. The reports also underline the need to reformulate laws and policies to make them more inclusive, in line with the European Disability Strategy and the EU's commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For more information on the FRA's work on disability rights see our webpage.


The reports were presented at an international conference on ‘Autonomy and inclusion’ in Copenhagen on 7-8 June 2012 that FRA organised together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration. Presentations and reports from the working group rapporteurs are all available from the conference website.