EUCAP has joined the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) as an organisational member. The decision to apply for membership was made after learning about the organisation through participation in ENIL’s Task Force on Independent Living, and through discussions with Florian Sanden, ENIL Policy Coordinator, who is also autistic.
The values that ENIL represents are a very close match to EUCAP core values. We believe that there will continue to be a high interest in independent living themes among EUCAP members. Joining ENIL will open up new opportunities to learn from disability activists with a long history of working on these matters and extensive knowledge of the channels for effective advocacy.
The Task Force on Independent Living Guidelines, where several EUCAP representatives have been active members, has drafted a proposal for guidelines . This document will be used in ENIL’s future lobbying efforts, advocating for the adoption of these guidelines throughout Europe.
Autistic people are too often denied services that could enable us to live independent lives. Some are forced to rely on family and friends to fulfil basic needs and maintain basic human dignity; some are denied the right to choose where and with whom to live, as services that are essential to survival are tied to accepting institutional rules and arrangements. Even when the rights of other disabled people are respected, we are often seen as somehow not deserving support or solely as targets for endless teaching, therapy, modification and habilitation by others instead of individuals with the right to be in control of our lives. We hope to contribute more autistic voices to the discourse that ENIL leads on these matters, raising awareness of the specific challenges we face with gaining access to the right kinds of services and using them.
Taking our message to Brussels – EUCAP participation at Freedom Drive
ENIL’s Freedom Drive event is starting in Brussels on 26 September. The level of interest within EUCAP is reflected in our participation. A total of six representatives of EUCAP member organisations from Belgium, Portugal, Romania and Finland will attend the three-day event, participating in workshops, marching at the Freedom Drive protest, and meeting EU parliament members to draw their attention to our message.