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Groups Petition European Parliament to Ensure Taxpayer Money Does Not Violate Rights of People with Disabilities

BRUSSELS, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire / -- On Tuesday, 22 January 2013 at 12:30, leading European disability rights organizations, joined by MEPs Michael Cashman and Margrete Auken will speak at the European Parliament about the misuse of EU taxpayer money to institutionalize people with intellectual and mental disabilities.

An estimated 1.2 million Europeans with disabilities are confined in long-stay institutions. People living in institutions are isolated and often abused, denied basic rights like education and employment, and deprived of their dignity. Institutionalization violates the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the European Convention on Human Rights. Though some Central and Eastern European countries have used Structural Funds to build and maintain institutions, no significant action has been taken by the European Union to address these violations of EU law.

The Open Society Foundations, joined by regional disability rights and self-advocacy organizations, including the Association for Self-Advocacy and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, have petitioned the European Parliament to ensure that the next round of Structural Funds—part of the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy being decided this year—does not support the building or renovation of institutions. People with disabilities have the right be members of, and receive services within, their communities.

WHEN:  Tuesday, 22 January 2013

WHERE:  European Parliament, Members' Salon Private Dining-Room 
Refreshments and coffee will be available

WHAT:  Media Lunch on protecting the rights of people with disabilities in the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy.

WHO:  Michael Cashman—MEP (S&D)
Senada Halilcevic—President, European Platform of Self-Advocates; President, Association for Self-Advocacy, Croatia; former resident of an institution in Croatia
Judith E. Klein—Director, Mental Health Initiative, Open Society Foundations
Camilla Parker—Co-Author of The European Union and the Right to Community Living
Michael Ralph—Adviser to Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy
Margrete Auken—MEP (Greens/EFA)

For a copy of the petition submitted to the European Parliament please visit:

SOURCE Open Society Foundations

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