On 19 November 2015, Slavenka Martinović, director of CAE Validus, and Božidar Kobasić, self-advocate from the Association for Promoting Inclusion (API), participated at the seminar “Putting citizens at the centre of politics using person-centered planning in the transition from institutional to community-based living” in the European Parliament in Brussels. The seminar was organised in cooperation with Inclusion Europe and its partners in the framework of the “New Paths to InclUsion Network”.
The host of the seminar was Richard Howitt – the Co-President of the all-party Disability Intergroup in the European Parliament, and a member of the parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee in conjunction with Inclusion Europe.
The high-level speakers from the European Commission, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, other EU-level non-governmental organisations and self-advocates presenting their experiences in community-living participated at the seminar.
The seminar concentrated on Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which guarantees the right of people with disabilities to live independently. The theoretical framework and several good practice examples on how to facilitate the involvement of the community in supporting people with intellectual disabilities to live autonomously were presented.
Božidar shared his own experience of transitioning from an institution to community-living in Croatia together with Slavenka, who after 32 years of life in an institution finally lives with his partner in the community.
One of the important highlights of the seminar was the announcement of Ann Elisa Cottone by the European commission about the public hearing on the European strategy for people with disabilities which will be published in the next few weeks. Any citizen will be able to participate in his language with suggestions and comments. For the first time, this hearing will be published also in easy-to-read language.