The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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European Day for Independent Living

Sunday, 7 May 2023, 08:07 Last update: about 2 years ago

5 May was the European Day for Independent Living.

Deinstitutionalisation and personal assistance for persons with disability are two main subjects linking to independent living for persons with disability.

Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) compares the right to liberty with the right of persons with disability to live in and be part of the community. It operates as a prohibition on institutional models of supported accommodation for persons with disability and requires national investment in community-based living options.

The UNCRPD urges the closure of the institutions and emphasises for persons with disability to live independently in the community. Persons with disability should be able to access all the right services they need in the community.

Education is fundamental to the development and growth of a person. Persons with disability should benefit from a good quality education, in an inclusive setting. This is essential to then be able to live independently with the right support. As per UNESCO, “Education is a basic human right that works to raise men and women out of poverty, level inequalities and ensure sustainable development. Education is one of the most powerful tools in lifting excluded children and adults out of poverty and is a stepping stone to other fundamental human rights. It is the most sustainable investment. The right to quality education is already firmly rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international legal instruments, the majority of which are the result of the work of UNESCO and the United Nations”.   

Unfortunately, we have a situation where students with disability are finishing their educational years without the necessary skills to live independently, let alone to find a job. We are still in the process and discussing a professional Personal Assistance (for persons with disability) reform. In the past, this issue was never given the importance it merits and today we have a situation where persons with disability still cannot live their life to the full and according to their wishes. They are living a segregated life (in all its different forms) which is being imposed on them due to the lack of services and personal assistance which should have been already running for years now.

MFOPD augurs that no one continues begging for what is his/hers by right – an independent life with the right support and services in place.

Marthese Mugliette

President of the Malta Federation 
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