Our side event “Independent Living for All: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Societies” on March 5th at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council, was a high-level occasion to present the Zero Project Report 2015 to about 60 ambassadors, permanent mission and UN staff, as well as other NGOs.
The event was organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Permanent Mission of Austria, together with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Thailand, as well as the European Network on Independent Living, with support of the Zero Project.
The discussion focused on Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), on the right to live independently and be included in their community. Chaired by H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN in Geneva, the panel included the following contributions:
- H.E. Lenín Voltaire Moreno Garcés (Ecuador), UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, delivered the opening remarks.
- Then, Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica), the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the UN Human Rights Council, stressed that the fight against institutionalization and exclusion of people with disabilities, still a practice in many countries around the world, is the most urgent point on article 19.
- Patricia Almeida (Brazil), from the board of Trustees of Down Syndrome International, one of IDA’s members, showed a short clip from the documentary “What now, Joe?” (Video) about the need of provision of independent living for people with intellectual disabilities.
- Lisa McNabb from Ireland followed with a presentation about her experience of living independently. She explained that she is part of a project called “In Control”, that offers support to people with intellectual disabilities to have control over their own decisions.
- Next Ms Nadia Hadad, representing the European Network on Independent Living, based in Brussels, talked about her work and personal experience. According to Ms Hadad, Independent Living includes the opportunity to make choices and decisions regarding where they live, with whom they live, how they live, and also the services that they want.
- Then it was the turn of the representatives of the Zero Project: Frédérique Wiemeijer, from the Essl Foundation (Austria) and Ingrid Heindorf, from the World Future Council (Switzerland). They presented the project’s latest report on indicators measuring the implementation of the CRPD and highlighting 50 innovative policies and practices that enhance independent living of persons with disabilities.
- After a lively debate, to which the Ambassadors of Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand and Uganda as well as others contributed, closing remarks were delivered by H.E. Thani THONGPHAKDI, Permanent Representative of Thailand, H.E. Regina Cordeiro DUNLOP, Permanent Representative of Brazil, & H.E. Yisheng REN, Minister Counsellor of China.
Further photos can be found below as well as in our Download section.