The right to community living is guaranteed by international law, in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This Handbook offers a pool of legal arguments and strategies for getting people out of institutional settings, getting support for them to live in the community, and tackling abuse, exploitation, torture and ill-treatment.
It draws on Article 19 of the CRPD and connected rights in the European Convention on Human Rights, the Revised European Social Charter and other relevant UN and European instruments. It also contains practical information for lawyers representing people with mental disabilities or conducting strategic litigation in this area.
Two million people with disabilities are forced to live in institutions in Europe – often for life. They are denied the opportunity to live in the community like anyone else, denied the right to live with family and friends and establish their own home. Instead of providing services which support them to live in the community, governments continue to spend huge amounts of money warehousing them in isolated, often decrepit, institutions. This represents one of the most ubiquitous human rights violations in modern Europe.
“The core of the right to live in the community, which is not covered by the sum of the other rights, is about neutralising the devastating isolation and loss of control over one’s life."
Thomas Hammarberg, MDAC Honorary President