The Need For Action

(by Ingrid Koerner, President of Inclusion Europe)

The time is long overdue to permanently remove large institutions from the residential options offered to persons with intellectual disabilities. Clearly, persons with intellectual disabilities have rejected any role for institutions in their lives and instead are demanding that they have the right to choose to live in the community. With this choice comes the demand for appropriate support and services that will enable full community inclusion and participation.

It has been proven beyond doubt that persons regardless of the assumed severity of their disability can live in and contribute to the community. However, these ‘lessons learned’ have not always been translated into policy and practice. Despite a proven capacity and stated intent to do otherwise, thousands of European citizens with intellectual disabilities remain in institutions for their whole lives.

The citizens and governments of the European Union and beyond must now do what we know can and should be done. The efforts in Bulgaria - as discribed in this publication - are a first step and may serve as a good example for action to ensure the full rights and citizenship of all Europeans with intellectual disabilities.

Find more information on the work of Inclusion Europe here.

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