COFACE Families Europe made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the right to live independently and be included in the community (Article 19 of the UN CRPD). In 2014, the CRPD Committee decided to prepare a draft General Comment on article 19 of the Convention.
The Committee considered that it was important to clarify the content of this article given that in its consideration of States parties’ reports, the Committee had identified implementation gaps and, to a certain extent, misconceptions about the right of persons with disabilities to choose their place of residence and where and with whom to live; the right of persons with disabilities to in-home, residential and community support services; and the right to community services and facilities available on an equal basis with the general population and which are responsive to the requirements of persons with disabilities. The UN Committee has published its draft General Comment earlier this year and welcomed comments from stakeholders from all over the world.
COFACE Families Europe and its COFACE Disability branch appreciated the opportunity to share our views and remarks on the right to live independently and be included in the community. In our submission, among other important points:
- We have highlighted that prevention of institutionalisation of children and providing support to families is an integral part of the process of transition from institutional to community-based care (deinstitutionalization). We suggested that the General Comment put more emphasis on the need to provide children with disabilities with accessible, high quality, community-based early childhood education and care services, and access to inclusive education, as well as on the support to families in forms of a wide range of community-based support services and work-life balance measures in line with the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care
- We recommended that the life-cycle approach to disability should be mainstreamed throughout the General Comment, because persons with disabilities do not live in isolation, but with their parents, partners, spouses, children, or other relatives, just like anyone else.
- We find that the draft General Comment does not reflect sufficiently the rights and needs of children with disabilities and the General Comment should discuss ‘Alternative care’ for children who are deprived of parental care. It is important to ensure that children with disabilities without parental care have access to family-based care, or family-like care in the community on an equal basis with others.
- Access to employment and to the open labour market is a key issue to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in society. Without adequate income, persons with disabilities will have no options to choose where and with whom to live and would more likely be obliged to live in a particular living arrangement. The General Comment lacks linking employment with the right to independent living, so we suggest to include more references throughout the document.
Furthermore, we made a number of substantive comments and recommendations linked to concrete paragraphs of the text. We hope that the UN CRPD Committee will find our comments and feedback useful and will integrate them in the final text of the General Comment.
Please find the whole submission to the draft General Comment here
For more information, please contact Magdi Birtha, COFACE’s Policy and Advocacy officer at firstname.lastname@example.org